We made some chicken tteokbokki (spicy rice cake) by default the other night when our fridge lost power. We decided the smartest thing to do was to cook most of the stuff that would spoil if we couldn't get it up and running (we later went to Walmart and bought a mini-one) but probably just gave us another reason to cooking something. Luckily, this led to another variation of one of our beloved dishes that we will continue to make in the future: chicken tteokbokki with perilla leaves (gaednip). It's basically the same recipe with the addition of perilla leaves, which give off a strong minty scent and taste that is really addicting with the spicy gochujang (red chili pepper paste) sauce. Though we usually use these leaves for wraps with barbecued meat, I think we found another great use for them.
1.If time permits, soak the tteok (rice cakes) in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes or defrost at room temperature.
2.Saute the chicken pieces in a large pot with 1 tbsp of olive oil and soy sauce. Cook until pink is absent and add the minced garlic for 2, 3 minutes.
3.Pour 2 cups water into the pot and boil for a few minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer.
4.Add the remaining ingredients (minus the perilla leaves & sesame seeds) to the pot and cook for 10 minutes. Continue cooking until rice cakes are soft and the sauce thickens up.
5.Lastly add the shredded perilla leaves.
6.Serve hot with rice or eat by itself.
*Some Koreans like to make a deeper, flavorful broth by boiling kelp, various vegetables, and dried anchovies (myulchi) and using it for the tteokbokki sauce. I have tried both ways (the short and long methods) and there really is not much difference in taste simply because the gochujang (red pepper paste) simply overpowers all other ingredients. However, if you're a traditionalist and like taking the longer route, then most likely I will be done eating by the time your broth settles into a suitable sauce.