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Tapioca Balls with Tteobokki Sauce

Tapioca Balls with Tteobokki Sauce

Yesterday me and my mother went to the market. It’s 6 in the morning when we went out, the streets don’t look as busy as usual. After 10 minutes of walking, we turn right in front of the district office. From the south-east a breeze gusted, the tree branches swayed by the wind. The dry leaves and twigs fell to the ground. From the distance two young boys could be seen riding a bike, the younger boy struggling to keep the balance while the older boy trying to lead.

Beef Tapioca Balls with Tteobokki Sauce

At the end of the narrow road we turn right again, and finally, we arrived at the market. Many people had gathered in the market. The stalls lined up on the right of the small road, while on the other side of the road many bikes, food, and toys vendors park, leave enough space for motorbike passing around. First, we stopped in the tofu stall, various kinds of tofu and tempe- white and turmeric-scented tofu, round or square tempe wrapped with plastic or banana leaves- filled to the brim. A couple of people had already come to purchase the still warm tofu. Some women chatted with ease and ask the seller to lower the price, one of the simple delights of shopping at the traditional market.

The market is getting busier as the day grew brighter. We stopped at banana stall before we go home. Cilok vendor caught my attention, those chewy balls made from tapioca flour one of my guilty pleasure. Little girl coming and bought a portion of cilok, with a cheeky smile she asks the seller to give her more. Melted with her innocence and cheeky smile, he added more cilok balls to the plastic. Her eyes are sparkled and her smile widened. She walks home in a pure joy, and pride to herself, knowing that she had to master the art of bargaining.

My reusable shopping bags getting heavier, as it already filled with banana, banana leaves, cassava and many kinds fresh vegetables. The sun rose in the sky, its heat began to burn. The strong sunlight kissed my skin, and the sweat rolling down in my chin. Supposedly we have entered the rainy season now, but today is hot, boiling and humid. Although we feel very tired, we enjoyed so much. There’s a fun sensation that you can’t get when you do your grocery shopping online.

Beef Tapioca Balls with Tteobokki Sauce

Beef Tapioca Balls with Tteokbokki Sauce

Cilok is popular Indonesian snack food made from tapioca flour. These soft-chewy balls are commonly purchased from street vendors in a school or near a market. Traditionally these tapioca balls served with peanut sauce or dried chillies powder, but this time I made my own version. I am inspired by Korean spicy rice cake (tteok bok ki), and served my tapioca balls with spicy gochujang sauce. I also made stuffing with minced beef and shiitake mushroom, so that the nutritional intake more balanced.

Tapioca Balls

  • 150g all purpose flour
  • 150g tapioca flour
  • 350 ml warm water
  • 1 stalk green onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Beef and Shiitake filling

  • 200g minced beef
  • 100g shiitake mushroom, chopped
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 ta kale marinade or soy sauce
  • 1/4 tbsp teaspoon sugar
  • a pinch of freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil

Tteokbokki Sauce

  • 2 cup anchovy stock
  • 4 tbsp gochujang
  • 2 tsp gochugaru
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 100g onion
  • 20g ginger
  • Mozzarella cheese, optional
  • Chopped green onion to serve


  • Beef filling: Clean and remove the tough ends of fresh shiitake mushrooms, and slice them thinly. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet. Add half of the mushrooms and scatter them around the pan. Cook them over medium-high heat until the mushrooms evenly browned. Repeat the steps with the remaining mushrooms. Once the mushroom cool put it in a big bowl. Add beef and all the filling ingredients into a big bowl. Mix everything until well combined.
  • Tapioca Balls: Combine together all purpose flour, tapioca flour, green onion, salt and pepper. Pour about 250-300 ml of hot water into a mixture of flour, stir with a fork. Knead the dough once it’s cool enough to handle, add the rest of water if the dough too dry. At this stage, the dough should be soft, smooth, and pliable.
    Divide the dough into 25 equal portions. Flatten 1 portion with hands, and put about 1 teaspoon beef filling, and bring the dough upward to enclose the filling. Seal the edge, then gently roll the balls between your palm until it smooth, and repeat with the rest.
  • Bring a pot of water to boil, the add the stuffed tapioca balls. Keep the water at a gentle boil. Cook the tapioca balls until they floated to the surface or about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the water with slotted spoon, and set aside.
  • Cheese Tteokbokki: heat up 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil in a pot over medium heat, add wedges onion, heat up just for few seconds only until the onion slightly wilted. Add ginger, gochujang, gochugaru, anchovy stock, sugar, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir gently with wooden spoon until all well blended. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickened and looks shiny about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add stuffed tapioca balls to the sauce, sprinkle some grated mozzarella cheese on top, and covered the pot. Cook for another 3 minutes on low heat until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat, sprinkle with chopped green onion and serve hot.

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