Quick and Easy Korean Rice Cake and Dumpling Soup (tteokguk 떡국)

Happy New Year!

Tteokguk (떡국) is a traditional Korean dish eaten on New Year’s day, it is believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the year as everyone gets a year older.

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What is tteokguk? It is a soup/ broth (guk) dish with thinly sliced rice cakes (tteok), and usually garnished with egg strips, marinated meat, and seaweed. In recent days, people have gotten more creative with the dish, for example adding dumplings, and using different broths to suit personal preferences.

I loved how this turned out, I may just start making this on a regular basis since it is so easy to make and taste delicious! This time, I made a meat-free broth using only anchovies, garlic and onions (and a little bit of chicken powder, secret ingredient), next time I might try the traditional beef broth, using beef brisket.

This recipe doesn’t take a lot of prep work, and the cooking time is short. Once all the ingredients are laid out, it is very easy to put it all together.

I used the premade Korean rice cakes and cheated a little bit by using premade dumplings, you can get these in Korean grocery stores. Make sure to get the sliced one for rice cakes, and you can choose whatever dumplings you want. The filling of the dumping I used here was vermicelli and vegetables, I think the kimchi and pork dumplings would go even better with the tteokguk.

There is a lot of flexibility in what ingredients you choose to make the broth. The traditional tteokguk recipe uses a beef broth, however, this time I made the recipe simple and clean using a mixture of garlic, anchovies, and onions.

It is best to blend the garlic and anchovies with a bit of water using a food processor, to get the most of the flavours in the broth. Then add the blended mixture and onions to a pot of water, and bring it to boil over high heat. Afterwards, lower the heat to medium, cover and let it boil for 15-20 minutes until you get a delicious broth. You will get the sweetness from the onions, and rich umami flavour from the anchovies.

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Add the rice cakes to the boiling soup, and season it with salt and pepper, a little bit of fish sauce, and half a teaspoon of chicken powder. Let it cook for 3-5 minutes, then add the dumplings and cook it for another 5 minutes until they are floating and well cooked. (Tips: don’t cook the dumplings for too long, they will get soggy and the skin will rip!)

While cooking the rice cakes and dumplings, whisk two eggs, and then add to a heated pan with cooking oil.

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Slice the eggs into thin strips, and set aside along with the seaweed strips and toasted sesame for garnish.

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Enjoy! And serve immediately! This dish is super simple and absolutely delicious.

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