Duk Mandu Guk (Rice Cake & Dumpling Soup)

It’s been a long time since I’ve eaten tteokguk (rice cake soup) so it was a pleasant surprise when finally having the chance to eat it. Tteokguk is a traditional dish enjoyed by many (if not all Koreans) during the Lunar New Year’s holiday. The rice cake used to make tteokguk is first made into a long, white cylinder shape called garae tteok. Its shape and length is meaningful, symbolizing good healthy and longevity in life, especially since mortality rates were so high back in the days. Also, that is another reason why the 100th day celebration and 60th birthday carry special significance in Korea. As for the soup dish, there are several variations that include mandu (dumplings), various seafood, and accompanying garnishes/toppings. I didn’t eat the soup for a particular reason, but this soup can be had any time. There is nothing better than slurping down those slippery smooth rice cakes on an empty stomach.

Here are the ingredients for our tteokguk with added mandu (dumplings).
To save time, we slice the beef and then boil it.  Practically any cut of meat will work with this soup.
We save time (but not taste) by cutting the meat into strips first to make the instant beef stock.
Prepare the toppings of fried egg strips, gim (seaweed), and scallions.
We threw in some mandu (dumplings) to make it heartier and filling.
When the mandu (dumplings) and rice cakes are cooked, include the scallion pieces and beaten eggs.
We enjoyed this tremendously after a long day of running errands.

 

Servings: 4 people
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25~30 minutes

Ingredients: 

  • 4, 5 cups thinly sliced garae tteok (rice cake)
  • 1/2 lb thinly sliced beef strips (rib-eye or sirloin)
  • 15-20 pieces ready-made mandu (dumplings)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 5, 6 cups water
  • sprinkle of salt & pepper (according to taste preference)
For garnish (optional but recommended):
  • 2 eggs, yolks & white fried separately and cut into thin strips (garnish; optional)
  • laver or seaweed strips, gim/nori (garnish; optional)
  • mandu or Korean dumplings (optional)
Directions:
  1. Make the stock by cutting the beef into thin strips and boiling them in a large pot. Simmer on medium-low heat and skim off any foam or scum using a fine mesh sieve or strainer. Adding half an onion and some garlic cloves for the stock is optional. Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a simmer cooking for 15~20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse the rice cake slices in cold water and drain well.
  3. Stir in the rice cake slices and the 2 tablespoons soup soy sauce. Boil gently about 8~10 minutes or until the rice cake slices start to float. Season with a little salt and pepper.  When rice cakes are almost cooked, include the scallion slices and beaten egg.
  4. Make the garnish ingredients by separating the egg whites and yolks. In a non-stick pan or skillet, add olive oil and fry them in olive oil into a thin sheet; transfer to cutting board and cut into thin strips. Toast gim (seaweed) sheets over heat until crispy; cut into thin strips.
  5. Ladle the soup into bowls, dividing the rice cake slices evenly. For each serving, place a nice handful of the fried egg white, yolks, and seaweed strips.
  6. Eat hot otherwise the rice cakes will “booluh,” or get soggy.
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