Today we’re sharing mom’s (떡국) tteokguk recipe. This is the first year we plan on making it for the new year. Tteok is rice cake and guk is soup in Korean. It’s one of the recipes I asked my mom to teach me before she left for Atlanta.
What is Tteokguk?
Tteokguk is a soup made up of sliced rice cakes in a beef broth. Koreans eat this rice cake soup on Seollal (Korean New Year’s Day on the lunar calendar).
Since we live in the US, I plan on making it on Jan 1st but depending on how nice Jacob is, maybe I’ll make it again for the Korean New Year.
Fun fact: Did you know the white oval shape of the tteok is created to be reminiscent of coins symbolizing a prosperous new year?
The one we made below has dumplings added and is called Tteok mandu guk instead. Some families and regions like to add the dumplings in the soup while others don’t, so this is totally up to you!
Korean Rice Cake Soup Tteokguk RecipeCourse: SoupsCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Easy
This is a hearty Korean rice cake soup recipe that is traditionally made for the Korean New Year.
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic (for step 2)
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
1/2 cup ground beef or any cut of beef.
1 tsp soy sauce (Korean soy sauce for soup if you have it)
1 tsp Korean plum extract
2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 lb rice cake (1/4 of a 2 lb bag)
1 Tbsp minced garlic (for step 7)
3 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste.
6 dumplings (optional)
2 eggs (1 for soup, and an optional 1 for garnish)
1 Korean dry red pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
1 sheet dry seaweed pepper, roasted and thinly cut (optional)
- Optional: Make a flat scrambled egg. Set aside and let it cool. Roll the egg and thinly slice it into strips for garnish later.
- Saute green onion and garlic in olive oil until fragrant.
- Add beef and cook until brown.
- Stir in soy sauce, fish sauce, and Korean plum extract.
- Add water and bring it to a boil.
- Optional: Add dumplings until cooked.
- Stir in rice cake and minced garlic until rice cake is cooked through.
- Beat an egg and stir into the soup.
- Optional: Roast the seaweed paper and thinly slice. Sprinkle the thinly sliced egg strips, red pepper, and dry seaweed paper on top of the soup as a garnish.
MOM’s Notes / Substitutions
- If you want dumplings in your soup, you can buy premade dumplings or make them before you start this recipe. We used frozen dumplings we had made several weeks ago. We’ll post that recipe soon!
- You can substitute brown or white sugar for the Korean plum extract. The plum extract is less sweet so use roughly half the amount.
- You can add more garlic and green onion to suit your taste. For Koreans, the more the merrier.
- If you add dumplings, don’t handle them too much or they will break in the soup.
- Some people separate out the whites and egg yolk to make the garnish because they find having thin strips of both white and yellow prettier.
- If you want the rice cakes to be softer, you can add them in earlier with the dumplings or try soaking the rice cake in water for 30 minutes before you cook (this is what my mom does).
Happy New Year!
What did you think about this Tteokguk recipe? What other Korean soups would you be interested in learning how to cook?