Tteokguk (Korean Rice Cake Soup)

rice cake soup recipe  
Happy New Year! This month’s theme at World on a Plate is auspicious food for a prosperous New Year. For Koreans, it’s definitely tteokguk (떡국)!The tteokguk (or ddeokguk/ddukguk) recipe was originally posted on January 9, 2010 when I was very new to blogging and food photography. So I decided to update my tteokguk recipe for this month’s New Year recipe roundup. 

Tteokguk is a soup made with sliced rice cakes, usually in beef broth. It’s a traditional New Year’s dish in Korea. “Tteok” means rice cake, and “guk” means soup. It’s made with garaetteok, which is unsweetened and shaped like a long cylinder. For the soup, garaetteok (가래떡) is sliced into thin oval shapes. The white oval shape symbolizes a bright and prosperous new year. Also, Koreans traditionally age another year on this day, rather than their birthday. It’s commonly said that one must eat a bowl of tteokguk to become one year older. 

Growing up in Korea, I always loved to eat long steaming garaetteok mom would bring home from a rice cake mill to prepare for the New Year’s feast. She would wait a couple of days for the garaetteok to turn hard before slicing them into thin oval slices. These days, pre-sliced gareatteok is available all year around in any Korean grocery store, making the soup preparation much easier.

rice cake soup recipe

Often, Koreans add mandu (Korean dumplings) to tteokguk, in which case the soup is called tteok-manduguk. You can use any kind of mandu in the soup. My favorite is kimchi mandu because of its pungent flavor and crunchy texture, which I think adds a nice contrast to the mildly flavored broth and soft rice cake slices.

This starchy and soothing bowl of soup is not only a New Year’s tradition but is classic comfort food any time of the year!

Tteokguk (Korean Rice Cake Soup)
Serves 4
Starchy and soothing bowl of soup made with rice cakes
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Beef Broth (you can also use anchovy broth)
  1. 1/2 pound (230 grams) beef brisket (양지머리)
  2. 1/2 medium onion
  3. 5 – 6 cloves of garlic
  4. 3 scallions – white parts
  5. 1 – 2 tablespoons soup soy sauce
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish
  1. Beef removed from the broth
  2. 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  3. 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  4. salt and pepper
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 scallion
  7. 1/2 sheet gim (nori)
Rice cakes (garae tteok)
  1. 4 cups sliced garae tteok (rice cake)
  2. (Soak in cold water for 10 to 20 minutes if hardened.)
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, bring the meat, onion, scallions and garlic to a boil in 14 cups of water. Reduce the heat to medium low, and skim off the scum. Simmer, covered, until the meat is tender enough for shredding, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Remove the meat and cool. Discard the vegetables. Stir in soup soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
    rice cake soup recipe
  2. Cut the cooled beef into 1 – 1 1/2-inch wide strips, shred, and combine well with garlic, sesame oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
    tteokguk recipe
  3. To make egg garnish (jidan), separate the egg. Lightly beat the white by gently cutting it with a spoon. Stir the yoke with a spoon until smooth. Heat a lightly oiled nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Pour each egg part into a thin layer, tilting the skillet and/or spreading with a spoon. Cook each side briefly. (Do not brown the egg.) egg crepe
  4. Roll each egg crepe, and slice into short thin strips. Slice the scallion diagonally into thin strips. Roast the gim on a hot skillet. Cut into thin 1 1/2-inch strips with kitchen shears, or simply crush them with hands.
    Korean rice cake recipe
  5. Return the broth to a boil. Add the rice cake slices and boil until soft, usually about 5 – 8 minutes. Ladle the steaming soup into individual bowls and garnish with the shredded beef, egg, scallion and gim strips.
    rice cake soup recipe
Notes
  1. Although egg jidan is a classic garnish for tteokguk, a common alternative is to drizzle a lightly beaten egg over the boiling soup right before turning the heat off. Or you can omit the egg part entirely if you like.
  2. If you don't like your soup too thick and starchy, you can parboil the rice cake slices in the boiling water until soft, drain, and then add to the soup.
  3. If you want to add some mandu (dumplings), you can drop them in along with the rice cake slices, stirring gently so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Boil until all of them float, and continue to cook for another minute or two. You can also cook mandu in boiling water separately, and add to the soup when the rice cake is softened. This method will keep the soup from becoming too thick from all the starch released from the rice cake and mandu.
Korean Bapsang https://www.koreanbapsang.com/
 
 

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Comments

  1. looks tasty and happy new year
  2. Happy New Year, Hyosun! The soup looks gorgeous and I'm glad you posted it once more. I love rice cakes (I had once a Korean dish at a Korean friend's house: rice cakes with lots of gochujang; it was extraordinary) and I should cook it more often.
  3. Thanks! :D I have tons of leftover stock now too, so I’m going to be making jjigaes and tteokbokki!
  4. I tried this and my family likes it. Thanks for sharing the recipe :)
  5. Cherry Uy says:
    Hi. this soup looks really good. i was just wondering, can we try this with rice noodles also instead of the rice cake? thanks so much :D
  6. You are Great!!! Thank you so much!
  7. Thank you for all your recipes. They're exactly how my mom makes them and it always reminds me of home!
  8. Hi there! I'm so glad I found you! I was wondering if you knew how to make a drink my halmony used to make. It's a sweet rice drink, I can't remember the name but I used to drink it all the time when I lived in Daegu.
  9. Am I able to freeze this soup if I made too much? I don't know if the rice cakes will get soggy or chewy if I do.
    • Rice cakes will get soggy in the soup and will not freeze well once boiled. You can remove them from the soup and store separately in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Just boil them together when needed.
  10. I have been craving my mom's tteokguk for so long. This is the perfect recipe I can make myself until I can visit her and have some Korean mom home cooking!
  11. Joanne Liew says:
    Thanks for the recipe! I tried it for the first time today and it turned out to be ok. Just that I forgot to add soy sauce and I substituted sesame oil with olive oil for the beef cos I dont have it at home!