Tteok Sanjeok (Skewered Rice Cake with Beef and Vegetables)

skewered rice cake with beef and vegetables

Sanjeok is a variety of jeok – skewered meat and vegetables. Unlike some other jeok varieties, sanjeok is not flour- or egg-battered. The ingredients are skewered and then grilled or pan-fried. Tteok (rice cake) sanjeok is made with garaetteok, which is unsweetened rice cake that’s shaped like a long cylinder. 

Garaetteok is abundant this time of year because it’s cut into oval slices and used to make tteokguk (soup made with rice cakes), a must-have New Year dish. I used regular size garaetteok in this recipe, which I cut into short strips. Day old rice cakes will be best for cutting. You can use thinner ones that are made for tteokbokki (spicy stir-fried rice cakes) instead if you’d like. Beef, mushrooms and scallions are traditional accompaniments, but you can use any meat or vegetables of your choice.

This colorful, nutritionally well-balanced skewers will be a great addition to your Lunar New Year table!

skewered rice cake with beef and vegetables

Tteok Sanjeok (Skewered Rice Cake and Vegetables)
Serves 4
A traditional holiday dish - skewered rice cake with beef and vegetables
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Ingredients
For the rice cake
  1. 2 pieces garaetteok (sufficient for 4 7-centimeter long pieces)
  2. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  3. 2 teaspoons sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
For the beef
  1. 4 ounces lean beef (tenderloin, sirloin, eye round)
  2. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  3. 2 teaspoons sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  5. 1 teaspoon rice wine
  6. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  7. pinch pepper
For the vegetables
  1. 4 king trumpet mushrooms (saesongi beoseot)
  2. 2 small carrots
  3. 4 scallions
  4. salt and pepper
  5. oil for pan frying
  6. sesame seeds or chopped pine nuts for garnish - optional
  7. 8 skewers (about 4-inch long)
Instructions
  1. Cut each rice cake crosswise into about 3-inch long pieces. Then cut each piece into quarters. (Day old rice cake is best for cutting.) Boil the rice cake in a small pot of boiling water until softened. Drain, and mix with the soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil, and let sit for about 30 minutes.
    skewered rice cake with beef and vegetables
  2. Cut the beef into about 3.5-inch long strips to create 8 pieces. (Cut the beef longer than the rice cake because the beef will shrink more.) Combine with the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, rice wine, minced garlic, and pepper. Marinate for about 30 minutes.
    skewered rice cake with beef and vegetables
  3. Cut the mushrooms lengthwise into about 8-centimeter long strips. Blanch them in salted boiling water just to soften, about a minute. Drain.
    skewered rice cake with beef and vegetables
  4. Cut the green parts of scallions into 8 3-inch long pieces. Cut the carrots into 2 3-inch long pieces. Then cut each one into quarters.
    skewered rice cake with beef and vegetables
  5. Thread the rice cake, meat and vegetables onto the skewers.
    tteok sanjeok
  6. Heat a large pan with a little bit of oil over medium low heat. Place the skewers in the pan. Cook each side until the meat and vegetables are cooked through and slightly caramelized, 1 – 2 minutes each side. Garnish with the optional sesame seeds or pine nuts.
    skewered rice cake with beef and vegetables
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  1. Wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous new year, Hyosun! If you buy fresh rice cakes (thin finger sized cakes, sliced ovals, regular (long and chubby) cakes) one or two days ahead of cooking, how do you store them? Or do you cook them on the same day? I hesitate to store them in the fridge because they get hard but they also quickly get moldy on the counter. So unless I know that I can cook them on the same day, I pass by them.