Tteokbokki is honestly my favorite food, bar none. This is the kind of thing that my halmeoni used to make for me--beef flavored when I was younger and this spicy version once I burned enough taste buds. I visited Korea when I was younger, and this was the street food of the gods.
I discovered Maangchi on Youtube a while ago, so this recipe was originally adapted from hers, but I've since added tips from aunts and great-aunts and things of my own preference. It's still developing--out of all the recipes in my food journal, this one probably has the most notes and edits, but it's delicious and reliable enough for anyone to follow.
Don't worry too much if you need to substitute ingredients or if you put in too much or too little; this recipe is very forgiving. —Kyna
Boil water, anchovies, fish sauce, and kelp in a shallow pan over medium-high heat for 15 minutes without a lid.
Remove kelp and anchovies (feel free to snack on!). Add hot pepper paste, hot pepper flakes, and sugar. Stir to combine and dissolve.
Add rice cakes, green onions, fish cakes, and eggs.
Stir gently when sauce begins to boil. Continue cooking and stirring occasionally until cakes turn soft and chewy and the sauce thickens and becomes shiny. If the sauce becomes too thick and the rice cakes need more time to cook, add water as necessary.