Substituting Anchovy Broth in Tteokbokki: A Delicious Alternative

Tteokbokki, a popular Korean dish known for it’s spicy and savory flavors, traditionally relies on anchovy broth to create it’s rich umami taste. However, for those seeking vegetarian or vegan alternatives, anchovy broth may not be the ideal choice. Fear not, as there are simple yet equally delicious substitutes available. Water or vegetable broth can be used as a flavorful base, ensuring that the essence of the dish remains intact. To add texture and depth, consider omitting the fish cake and introducing fried tofu pockets, known as yubu, instead. These little pockets of delight soak up the flavors beautifully and provide a satisfying bite. Additionally, incorporating assorted mushrooms into the mix can lend a pleasant earthy note to the dish. Whether you're a vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to switch things up, these substitutions will guarantee a delightful and satisfying tteokbokki experience.

What Is Tteokbokki Broth Made Of?

Tteokbokki, a delectable Korean street food, derives it’s distinct flavor from the broth that it’s cooked in. While water is commonly used to create the base for this dish, one can certainly experiment with different types of broth to elevate it’s taste and appeal. For those seeking a vegetarian option, vegetable broth can be a perfect choice to infuse the rice cakes with a rich and savory flavor.

On the other hand, if you prefer a meaty undertone, chicken broth can be an excellent alternative to water. The chicken broth imparts a hearty and comforting flavor, which marries well with the spiciness of the tteokbokki sauce. This combination lends an additional layer of complexity to the dish, satisfying even the most discerning palates.

Moreover, the choice of broth can open up a realm of creativity, allowing for endless possibilities. For instance, seafood lovers can experiment with a seafood broth, infusing the tteokbokki with delicious notes of the ocean. The briny flavors from the broth can harmonize wonderfully with the spicy and umami-laden sauce, resulting in an unparalleled gastronomic experience.

Alternatively, for those who seek a fusion of flavors, one can consider using mushroom broth. This earthy and aromatic liquid enhances the overall taste profile of the tteokbokki, creating a harmonious blend of flavors. The umami-rich mushrooms coupled with the spiciness of the sauce create a well-rounded and satisfying dish.

In addition to soy sauce, there are a few other vegetarian substitutes for anchovy broth that can impart a similar umami taste to your dishes. Keep reading to discover these alternatives and how to use them in your favorite recipes.

What Is a Vegetarian Substitute for Anchovy Broth?

It provides a similar umami taste that’s characteristic of anchovy broth. Another option is miso paste, which is made from fermented soybeans and adds a rich and savory flavor to your dishes. It can be used in dressings, sauces, and as a flavorful seasoning in soups and stews.

For a more unique alternative, nutritional yeast can be used as a substitute for anchovy broth. Known for it’s cheesy and slightly nutty flavor, nutritional yeast adds depth and richness to your dishes. It can be sprinkled over pasta, salads, or used as a seasoning in various recipes.

Tamari sauce, a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce, can also be used as a vegetarian substitute for anchovy broth. It’s a dark and savory taste that’s reminiscent of anchovy flavor, making it a great addition to your cooking. Additionally, vegans and those with gluten intolerances can use tamari sauce without any concerns.

Seaweed is another great option for a vegetarian substitute. Dried seaweed, such as kombu or nori, can be used to make a homemade broth. Simply soak the seaweed in water and simmer it to release it’s flavor. This broth can then be used as a base for various dishes, adding a subtle seafood taste.

Lastly, if you prefer a pre-made alternative, there are vegetarian fish sauces available in the market. These sauces are made using plant-based ingredients and provide a similar flavor profile to anchovy broth. They can be used as a direct replacement in recipes that call for anchovy broth, allowing you to enjoy the same depth of flavor in your vegetarian or vegan dishes.


In conclusion, for those seeking a substitute for anchovy broth in tteokbokki, opting for water or vegetable broth presents a viable option to accommodate vegetarian or vegan preferences. By omitting the fish cake or replacing it with yubu, a delightful texture and flavor can still be achieved in the dish.

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