These stir-fried rice cakes are full of flavor and texture and so satisfyingly delicious! Tender beef, chewy rice cakes, and a mixture of vegetables all tossed together in a savory sauce make this a great meal that comes together quickly and easily all in one pan. It's a great weeknight meal!
What are Korean rice cakes?
Korean rice cakes are far different from those puffed rice wafers that may come to mind! There is a cylindrical shape and a sliced disc shape and they are made from rice flour (I have found some that contain wheat starch, but have also found some that only contain rice flour). Each has its specific uses in Korean cooking, the slices being used traditionally in soup and the cylindrical ones being used in stir-fries/snacks, and they have a delightful chewy texture when cooked.
When I first published this recipe in 2018, I inadvertently made the mistake of using the disc shaped rice cakes, not realizing that the disc shaped ones are meant for soup. Thankfully, a reader kindly enlightened me and I've now updated and refreshed this recipe using the correct rice cakes!
I am, by no means, a Korean expert, but this is a dish that my sister inspired me to make and that my family loves! This particular dish is also known as "Royal Court Stir-Fried Rice Cakes" or "Gungjung Tteokbokki".
- Korean cylinder shaped rice cakes
- Beef steak (sirloin, tenderloin, short rib, rib eye, etc.)
- Napa cabbage
Marinade and Sauce:
- Asian pear
- Soy sauce (liquid aminos for gluten-free)
- Sesame oil
Prepare the Ingredients
As with any stir-fry, all the ingredients need to be prepared and ready for cooking before you actually start to heat the pan.
Marinate the Beef
Grate the Asian pear and combine it and its juices with the soy sauce, mirin, honey, sesame oil, and garlic.
Thinly slice the steak into strips and combine them with the marinade sauce ingredients. Let it marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours, overnight is best.
Soak the rice cakes
Soak the rice cakes in water for 30 minutes or longer to help soften them.
If you are using freshly made rice cakes, soaking them is not necessary.
Prepare the Vegetables
Peel the carrot and slice in half length-wise. Take each half and slice it at an angle to get long pieces.
Thinly slice the onion, napa cabbage, and garlic. Set vegetables aside.
The Sauce for Cooking
In a bowl or glass measuring cup, combine the water, soy sauce, mirin, honey, sesame oil, and pepper and mix well. Set aside.
How To Make Stir-Fried Rice Cakes
Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of neutral flavored oil. Add the sliced onions and carrots and cook for about a minute, then add the garlic.
Stir-fry for about a minute before adding the napa cabbage; cook for about 2 minutes.
Remove the beef from the marinade and add to the pan (do not pour in the marinade). Stir-fry until about half-cooked.
Add the sauce to the pan and mix with the beef and vegetables. Add the rice cakes to the pan and mix.
Bring the entire mixture to a boil, stir-frying all the ingredients to heat everything through. The dish is ready when the rice cakes have softened and the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly to coat all the ingredients, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately!
How To Serve It
Transfer everything to a dish and garnish the rice cakes with sesame seeds and sliced green onions. Alternatively serve them straight from the pan and save yourself the work of cleaning extra dishes!
The stir-fried rice cakes are delicious as they are, but if you want to add some spice, try making my No-Cook 5 Minute Korean Chili Sauce (Gochujang) and add some of that to your bowl. And don't forget the kimchi!
Commonly Asked Questions
Look for them in the refrigerator section in a Korean grocery store or your local Asian market. Be sure to buy the cylinder-shaped rice cakes for this recipe. You will likely also see flat disc-shaped ones, also called rice cakes, and you could use those for this dish. However, for Korean cuisine, those are more commonly used in soups.
The grated pear, when mixed with the beef, acts like a meat tenderizer, and it also adds some sweetness to the flavor. You could also use an apple or regular pear if you can't locate an Asian pear.
You can also look for mirin at a Korean grocery store, your local Asian market where, or the Asian food aisle in your supermarket. If you cannot find it, you can use white wine as a substitute.
Liquid or coconut aminos are good gluten-free options. You might also be able to find gluten-free soy sauce.
Store leftover stir-fried rice cakes in a container in the fridge. To reheat, simply microwave them. Leftover rice cakes will not be as saucy as when you first cook it, but they will still be good to eat!
More Recipe Ideas
Are you looking for more one-pan meals? Take a look at a variety of options like:
- Garlic Shrimp & Spinach One-Pan Pasta
- One-Pan Saucy Beef Pasta
- Pepper Beef Rice Skillet
- Spicy Miso Beef Noodles
- Skillet Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs
- Seared Salmon Coconut Curry.
This stir-fried rice cakes dish is a delicious blend of textures and flavor. complete meal that can be cooked up and served straight from the pan! With the tender beef, vegetables, and chewy rice cakes, it's a complete meal that's cooked up in one pan, and every bite is going to hit the spot.
Korean Stir-Fried Rice Cakes
- ¾ lb. (340g) steak, sliced thin
- 500 grams Korean rice cakes (cylinder shaped)
- 1 medium carrot, cut in half lengthwise and then thinly sliced
- 225 grams napa cabbage leaves, sliced
- ½ onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Slice beef into thin slices.
- Prepare and cut the onion, carrot, napa cabbage, and garlic. Set aside.
- Combine marinade ingredients (soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, garlic, grated pear) and mix well.
- Add marinade to beef slices and stir well to combine. Marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours; overnight is best.
- Soak rice cakes in water for at least 30 minutes; drain.
- In a skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of a neutral flavored oil.
- Add onions and carrots and stir-fry, about one minute.
- Add sliced garlic and cook one minute until fragrant.
- Add napa cabbage and stir-fry with other ingredients for another minute.
- Remove beef slices from marinade and add to the pan.
- When beef is cooked halfway, add the sauce (not the sesame oil yet) and stir to combine and cook about one minute.
- Add the rice cakes and mix with all the ingredients.
- Bring the sauce to a boil and cook about 4-5 minutes until rice cakes have softened and sauce has thickened and reduced slightly, making sure to stir often so the rice cakes do not stick to the pan as they cook.
- Add the sesame oil about a minute before serving. Transfer everything to a serving dish or serve straight from the pan
- Garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Serve with kimchi and gochujang.
- Use cylinder shaped rice cakes for this recipe.
- Substitute mirin with white wine.
- Gluten-free substitutions for soy sauce are tamari, coconut aminos, or liquid aminos.
- Other vegetable options are shiitake mushrooms, Asian leafy greens, and spinach.
- It does not take long for the rice cakes to cook through and start to soften, so remove the pan from the heat as soon as they are done.
- It is important to keep stirring/tossing the ingredients in the pan once you add the rice cakes so that they cook evenly and don't start to stick to the bottom of the pan or wok.
- Store leftovers in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave. Rice cakes will not be as saucy as when you first make them, but they will still be good.
** This recipe was originally published on October 23rd, 2018 and republished March 27th, 2023 with new photos, writing, and corrections to the recipe, indicating the correct type of rice cakes to use.