Tteokguk | 떡국 (Korean rice cake soup) is probably one of my (Cherrod’s) all-time favorite Korean dishes and I am so excited to share this family recipe with you all!
I have such fond memories as a child begging my mom to make this dish for me over the years. While this dish is prominently known to be eaten on Seollal (Korean/Lunar New Year), it is also just as delicious any other time of the year!
I make it a handful of times throughout the year because it is now one of Matt’s favorite Korean dishes and he now makes a special request every now and then.
What is tteokguk (Korean rice cake soup)?
Tteokguk is a special rice cake soup that Koreans eat to celebrate the Lunar New Year. It’s a traditional must-have dish every New Year and it’s filled with sliced rice cakes (also known as garaetteok) in a delicious beef broth.
From Korean tradition, eating a bowl of tteokguk on Lunar New Year symbolizes a long life, good health, and becoming one year older.
Tteokguk (Korean Rice Cake Soup)
- 12 cups water
- 12 ounces beef brisket
- 7 garlic cloves peeled and left whole
- 4 green onions sliced and white and dark green seperated
- 2 tbsp Korean soup soy sauce (also known as guk-ganjang)
- 2.5 tbsp sesame oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 pounds sliced rice cakes
- 3 sheets gim
- 3 large eggs
- vegetable oil for cooking
- Soak the beef in a bowl of cold water until the blood is excreted (3o min- 1 hour).
- Place beef in a pot and add the 12 cups of water, 6 cloves of garlic, and the whites of the green onions. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 1-1.5 hours (until meat is tender). Skim off any of the foam that may have developed on top of the surface.
- While the broth is simmering, place the rice cakes in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to soak for 30 min then drain. You will only need to do this with frozen rice cakes usually. If you buy fresh rice cakes you can omit the soaking step.
- Make the egg garnish (also known as jidan–지단), by separating the egg whites from the egg yolks into two different bowls. Lightly beat them both, then head a lightly oiled nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Pour the egg whites into a thin layer, and tilt the skillet to thin out the eggs. Cook briefly on each side. Then repeat steps with the egg yolk.
- Roll each egg into a small crepe, and slice into short thin strips. Set aside.
- Clean out the skillet and place it over medium heat. Place a sheet of the gim on the skillet once it's hot and lightly toast on each side until it's nice and crispy. Stack the gim and slice into strips or cut using food scissors.
- Once the beef is done cooking, strain the broth and put it back over medium heat. Cut the cooled beef into 1-1.5 inch wide strips and place into a bowl with 1 clove minced garlic, 1.5 tablespoon sesame oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Combine well and set aside.
- Season the broth with the soup soy sauce and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Add salt to taste. Once the broth starts to simmer, add rice cakes and return to a boil. Stir occasionally until softened, usually about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Serve the soup in a bowl and garnish with beef, green onions, gim strips, and egg.