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Korean Rice Cake Soup (Tteokguk)

Hearty and comforting Korean rice cake soup (Tteokguk) recipe!

Tteokguk (Korean rice cake soup) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Lunar New Year’s Day is just around the corner! So today I’m sharing my Korean rice cake soup (Tteokguk or Ddeokguk, 떡국) recipe. This is a must have food on New Year’s Day in Korea. (If you want to cook more Korean New Year’s Day Food, check them out from here.)

There are many different ways to make Korean rice cake soup for new year’s day. It varies not only based on your family’s tradition and preference but also based on the region. For example, in Gangwon province they typically add dumplings in their rice cake soup. In the south east coast of Korea, they add some fresh oysters in their rice cake soup.

Today’s version is made in a more traditional way (some might call it “Seoul style”) using beef stock. Also I didn’t add any dumplings either. (You can add them if you like though).

How to make authentic Korean rice cake soup. It's hearty and comforting. Just perfect for cold wintery days. On a side note, this is a must have food on Korean New Year's Day! | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Normally I make my rice cake soup using dried sea kelp and dried anchovy stock as it’s much quicker to make. However, I have to say making the soup using beef stock brings another level of depth and flavour! Seriously, it’s very comforting and tastes so good! You will fall in love with it immediately just like me.

I hope you enjoy the soup as much as my family did & Happy Lunar New Year! Also I wish you riches and prosperity! (This is one of the essential reasons for having this soup on new year’s day. It has a symbolic meaning!)

Ingredients for Korean Rice Cake Soup

Beef stock

  • 500g (1 pound) skinless fat-less brisket – soaked in cold water for 30 mins to remove any excess blood
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 large onion (270g, 0.6 pounds) – cut into quadrants
  • 2 stalks of green onion (white part only), keep the green part for the toppings.
  • 10 whole black peppers

Main & soup sauce

  • 400g (0.8 pounds) Korean rice cakes for soup (Tteokguk tteok, 떡국 떡)
  • 1 Tbsp Korean soy sauce for soup (Guk-Ganjang, 국간장) – if you can’t find Korean soy sauce for soup, you can season with Korean fish sauce and/or fine sea salt instead. Just add them in small doses gradually while tasting.
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • Fine sea salt to taste (I didn’t add any, but if you need it)

Toppings (These are the classic Korean rice cake soup toppings. Quantities below are prepared for very generous toppings.)

  • 2 eggs – egg white and yolk separated and pan fried separately at a low temperature with a little oil. Thin slice them. Alternatively, you can beat the eggs together and drizzle them into the soup 1 to 2 mins before serving.
  • 1 to 2 stalks green onion (green part only) – thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 sheets Korean roasted dried seaweed (sushi seaweed is suitable) – cut into thin strips or crushed/torn with your hands.
  • shredded cooked brisket (from making the beef stock) – season with fine sea salt (1/4 tsp) & sesame oil (2 tsp) or add more of these to taste. As I mentioned above, the amount of meat used here is very generous, which my husband loved!

*1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 cup = 250 ml,

** Check out 30 Essential Korean cooking ingredients if you want learn more about Korean ingredients!

How to Make Korean Rice Cake Soup (Tteokguk)

1. Put the water, onion and green onion into a large pot and boil on medium high heat with a lid on. Once the water starts to boil, add the meat. Boil them on medium high heat for a further 5 mins then reduce the heat to medium. Boil them further for about 50 mins. (You would have boil the water for a total of 1 hr – approx.) This should give you about 4 cups of beef stock.

Making broth for Korean rice cake soup

2. Sieve the water (stock) through a cheese cloth. Discard the vegetables but keep the stock and the meat. Cool the meat down for about 10 mins then shred the meat using a knife and/or hands. Season the meat with salt and sesame oil.

Korean rice cake soup

3. While the meat is cooling down, soak the rice cakes in cold water for 15 to 20 mins to soften. Drain the water. Prepare the other toppings while waiting. (Instructions are mentioned in the above ingredients section.)

Korean rice cakes for soup

4. Boil the stock in a clean pot on medium high heat and once it starts boiling, add the minced garlic and the soy sauce. Add the rice cakes and cook until softened (about 2 to 3 mins). Do not overcook the rice cakes as they can turn mushy.

Korean rice cake soup

5. Serve the soup in a bowl and garnish with the toppings. Enjoy! (I normally add a few sprinkles of ground black pepper into the soup for extra flavour.)

How to make authentic Korean rice cake soup. It's hearty and comforting. Just perfect for cold wintery days. On a side note, this is a must have food on Korean New Year's Day! | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Note:

  • Soup or beef stock can be refrigerated for later use. However if you already boiled the rice cakes in the soup they won’t keep well in shape and texture. It will get mushy as time goes by. So if you are planning to make the soup in stages (at a different day), keep the rice cakes separately until you need to cook.


Tteokguk (Korean rice cake soup) | MyKoreanKitchen.com

Korean Rice Cake Soup (Tteokguk)

How to make Korean rice cake soup (Tteokguk)
4.5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Korean
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 484kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

BEEF STOCK

  • 500 g skinless fat-less brisket (1 pound), soaked in cold water for 30 mins to remove any excess blood
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 large onion (270 g / 0.6 pounds), cut into quadrants
  • 10 stalks green onion (white part only) keep the green part for the toppings.
  • 10 whole black peppers

MAIN & SOUP SAUCE

  • 400 g Korean rice cakes for soup (0.8 pounds)
  • 1 Tbsp Korean soy sauce for soup , if you can’t find Korean soy sauce for soup, you can season with Korean fish sauce and/or fine sea salt instead. Just add them in small doses gradually while tasting.
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • Fine sea salt , to taste (I didn’t add any, but if you need it)

TOPPINGS (THESE ARE THE CLASSIC KOREAN RICE CAKE SOUP TOPPINGS. QUANTITIES BELOW ARE PREPARED FOR VERY GENEROUS TOPPINGS.)

  • 2 eggs , egg white and yolk separated and pan fried separately at a low temperature with a little oil. Thin slice them. Alternatively, you can beat the eggs together and drizzle them into the soup 1 to 2 mins before serving.
  • 1 to 2 stalks green onion (green part only) , thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 sheets Korean roasted dried seaweed , (sushi seaweed is suitable) – cut into thin strips or crushed/torn with your hands.
  • shredded cooked brisket , (from making the beef stock) – season with fine sea salt (1/4 tsp) & sesame oil (2 tsp) or add more of these to taste. As I mentioned above, the amount of meat used here is very generous, which my husband loved!

Instructions

  • Put the water, onion and green onion into a large pot and boil on medium high heat with a lid on. Once the water starts to boil, add the meat. Boil them on medium high heat for a further 5 mins then reduce the heat to medium. Boil them further for about 50 mins. (You would have boil the water for a total of 1 hr - approx.) This should give you about 4 cups of beef stock.
  • Sieve the water (stock) through a cheese cloth. Discard the vegetables but keep the stock and the meat. Cool the meat down for about 10 mins then shred the meat using a knife and/or hands. Season the meat with salt and sesame oil.
  • While the meat is cooling down, soak the rice cakes in cold water for 15 to 20 mins to soften. Drain the water. Prepare the other toppings while waiting. (Instructions are mentioned in the above ingredients section.)
  • Boil the stock in a clean pot on medium high heat and once it starts boiling, add the minced garlic and the soy sauce. Add the rice cakes and cook until softened (about 2 to 3 mins). Do not overcook the rice cakes as they can turn mushy.
  • Serve the soup in a bowl and garnish with the toppings. Enjoy! (I normally add a few sprinkles of ground black pepper into the soup for extra flavour.)

Nutrition

Calories: 484kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 159mg | Sodium: 488mg | Potassium: 575mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 8.4% | Vitamin C: 9.3% | Calcium: 6.5% | Iron: 18.9%
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or Tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

 

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 13, 2019

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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19 thoughts on “Korean Rice Cake Soup (Tteokguk)”

    • Hi Rick,

      I’m probably not the best person to answer this question as I’ve never used Chinese soy sauce. (According to my quick google search, there’s a big difference. But I will ask you to do your own investigation since everyone’s opinion varies.)

      In terms of soy sauce, I’ve used Korean and Japanese (Kikkoman brand) soy sauce so far. (FYI, I use naturally brewed kikkoman soy sauce for my every day cooking as I like the brand. Also, it saves my trip to a Korean grocer because kikkoman is available at a regular grocer.)

      I also use gukganjang – Korean soy sauce made for soup making (i.e. used in this recipe). But nowadays, I’m trying to use a regular soy sauce even in Korean soup (e.g. https://mykoreankitchen.com/manduguk-korean-dumpling-soup/) if I can to make my recipe more approachable to my readers. (As I believe gukganjang is only available at a Korean grocer.) Hope this helps!

      • I’d love to see an article comparing the varieties. I typically use a couple of Korean and a couple of Thai soy sauces, but haven’t really tried to isolate the differences.

  1. After I added the beef to the stock, should I have left the lid off? I added it originally per the instructions, and kept it on after adding the beef, but the stock didn’t reduce much at all.

    • I didn’t close the lid after adding the beef. Because if I do, water tends to overflow a few minutes later. (Maybe I need a even bigger pot.) Also I wanted the meat smell to evaporate instead of being captured in the pot. (I’m sure everyone has a different preference and tolerance level here.)

      Regardless, it’s hard to believe that your stock didn’t go down much after 1 hr of boiling on medium heat whether it was with or without the lid on!
      How was your soup? Did you use just 4 cups of stock or all of it? Hopefully, you only used 4 cups and seasoned with fine sea salt to taste.

      • It was boiling, but not a particularly roiling boil, since it needed to last for a while. Had it gone down 60%, the beef wouldn’t have been covered!

        Anyway, I’ll be taking another swing at this. My wife liked it, which is always a substantial hurdle when cooking anything she considers “interesting”.

        Thanks!

      • That is pretty much how I make my chicken or beef stocks, by leaving the lid off so it’ll reduce some and add some great aromas to the house. You can also, after straining the stock put it back on the fire and reduce it more (without lid).

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