Tteokguk (Korean Rice Cake Soup)

Tteokguk (or dduk guk) is Korean rice cake soup! This starchy and soothing bowl of soup is not only a New Year’s tradition but is classic comfort food any time of year!rice cake soup recipe
 

Happy New Year! For Koreans, auspicious food for a prosperous New Year is definitely tteokguk (떡국) — rice cake soup! 

Tteokguk is a soup made with sliced rice cakes, usually in beef broth. It’s a traditional must-eat New Year’s dish.  It’s made with garaetteok, which is unsweetened and shaped like a long cylinder. For the soup,  garaetteok is sliced into thin oval shapes. The white oval shape symbolizes a bright and prosperous new year.

Growing up, I always loved to eat long steaming garaetteok that my mother used to 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 widely available all year around, making the soup preparation much easier.

Often, I 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 a classic comfort food any time of the year!

rice cake soup recipe

More tteokguk recipe:

Gul tteokguk (Oyster rice cake soup)

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4.39 from 21 votes

Tteokguk (Korean Rice Cake Soup)

Tteokguk (or dduk guk) is Korean rice cake soup! This starchy and soothing bowl of soup is not only a New Year's tradition but is classic comfort food any time of year!
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Servings: 4
Author: Hyosun

Ingredients

Beef Broth (you can also use anchovy broth)

  • 1/2 pound 230 grams beef brisket (양지머리)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 5 – 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 scallions – white parts
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons soup soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Garnish

  • Beef removed from the broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 scallion
  • 1/2 sheet gim nori

Rice cakes (garae tteok)

  • 4 cups sliced garae tteok rice cake
  • Soak in cold water for 10 to 20 minutes if hardened.
  • tteokguk tteok e1483307570581 - Tteokguk (Korean Rice Cake Soup)

Instructions

  • 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
  • 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
  • To make egg garnish (jidan), separate the egg white and yolk. Lightly beat the white by gently cutting it with a spoon. Stir the yolk 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
  • 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
  • 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 steam mandu or cook 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.
Tried this recipe?Mention @koreanbapsang or tag #koreanbapsang!
 
 

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Comments

  1. THIS. ROCKED. MY. WORLD. I actually made it with anchovy broth instead, and didn’t have soup soy sauce so I had regular. I put in both white and black pepper as well as some MSG, and a bit of yu choi sum. Your recommendation on the kimchi mandu was great, especially since I had some languishing in the freezer! It was so delicious that I didn’t even notice the sesame oil was missing until after I ate a giant bowl.

    I rarely ever comment on recipe pages, but I have been using many of your recipes and I wanted to express how thankful I am that you have shared these with us! This really made my night.

  2. Bangtan_Erin says

    Can you use a boiled pot roast or does it have to be made with brisket?

  3. Hello! If I wanted to make this in my Instant Pot, how much water should I use per 1/2 lb of beef brisket? (I’m hoping to cook a whole pound of beef brisket and have leftover broth to save for future.)

    <3

    • I’d say 8 cups. Really there are no rules. Try it with 8 cups and see how it comes out. You can always adjust next time.

  4. Hello,
    Can you substitute the gukganjang with something else? Regular (gluten free) soy sauce? My kids are allergic to wheat and also fish sauce.
    Thank you!

    • a little bit of regular soy sauce is okay but not the same amount as gukganjang. Just use a little bit and season with salt.

  5. 5 stars
    Happy New Year! Made this soup today and my family enjoyed it!

  6. The instructions for the egg are confusing me. Can you give me some more details?

  7. Can the broth be made day before? Is it ok to cook the brisket & season it the day before? Then add duk the next day?

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

    • My daughter did the same thing today. She made this tteokguk herself since she couldn’t have her mom’s tteokguk living away from home. Enjoy!

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Thank you for all your recipes. They’re exactly how my mom makes them and it always reminds me of home!

  13. You are Great!!! Thank you so much!

  14. 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 😀

  15. I tried this and my family likes it. Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

  16. Plumber Burien says

    Thanks! 😀 I have tons of leftover stock now too, so I’m going to be making jjigaes and tteokbokki!

  17. 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.

  18. Rebecca Subbiah says

    looks tasty and happy new year

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