Rice Cake Soup (with Dumplings option), DdeokGuk
Ddukguk, or Rice Cake Soup, is a traditional Korean soup served on New Year's Day. Having a bowl of this soup on New Year's symbolizes getting a year older. This tradition dates back to the Pre-Josun Dynasty (1392-1910), but is still observed today. The Korean expression, "How many bowls of rice cake soup have you eaten?" is sometimes used to ask a person's age. The original ddukguk was made with pheasant broth and meat. But, people soon started to use chicken instead because pheasants were precious.
Today people enjoy ddukguk for regular meals and snacks as well. Beef and anchovies are most commonly used to make the broth. Often dumplings are added to create a variation called Dduk Mandu Guk (rice cake dumpling soup).
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|11 oz||Rice Cake for soup, Sliced Garae Ddeok 떡국떡|
|15||Anchovy (dried) 멸치|
|5 cups||Water 물|
|1||Green Onion 파|
|1 tsp||Garlic (minced) 다진 마늘|
|1 tsp||Salt 소금|
|pinch||Black Pepper 후추|
|6||Dumpling 만두 (optional)|
|2||Egg 계란 (optional)|
|2 tbs||Vegetable Oil 식용유 (optional)|
|½ sheet||Seaweed (Gim, Laver) 김|
Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Dumplings: Dumplings are added to make a variation called Dduk Mandu Guk (rice cake dumpling soup). This is optional.
Any of your favorite dumplings will be fine.
If you make dumplings from scratch, it is better to cook them half way first, before adding them to the soup.
Broth: You can use either beef, chicken or anchovy for broth. See how to make beef broth and how to make chicken broth For chicken broth use chicken with bones. If you use beef bones (e.g., ox tails), you can make a delicious milky broth which can be great for this soup.
You can also slice the beef or chicken used in the broth and serve them on top of the soup.
Seaweed: Use roasted seaweed. You can use either salted or unsalted ones. Seaweed is used as a garnish and it adds a subtle and pleasantly distinct flavor to the soup. But you can also get away without it.
Good to Know
If you are using anchovy broth and want some meat in the dish, you can also cook beef strips or ground beef with salt and pepper and add it on top of the soup.
If you don't have time, you don't have to make the egg garnish. Some people just crack an egg in the soup at the end. Although this will make the soup tastes a little different, it's a great alternative when you are busy or feeling lazy.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.
1. Soak rice cake
Soak rice cake in cold water for about an hour (optional). *This is optional, but pre-soaking will reduce the cooking time and the broth will become less starchy. If you like starchy broth, don’t pre-soak and cook rice cake longer in the broth.
2. Prep 1
Mince 2 cloves of garlic and chop 1 green onion.
MInce 2 garlic
Chop 1 green onion
3. Make Anchovy broth
Place 15 anchovies in a anchovy net and place it in a pot of cold water (about 5 cups). Bring it to boil and keep boiling for 10 minutes with a lid on. Remove anchovies.
15 anchovies in a net
5 cups cold water
Bring to boil
Boil for another
4. Prepare eggs (optional)
Separate egg yolks from egg whites into separate bowls. Season each of the yolks and whites with a pinch of salt and beat it.
5. Cook egg crepe (optional)
While the broth is boiling, preheat a non-stick pan on low heat for a minute. Lightly coat a non-stick pan with vegetable oil and spread the egg yolks as thin as possible by rotating the pan in circular motion, just as if making crepes. When it’s fully cooked, remove it from the pan and let it cool on the side. Repeat the same for egg whites. For more vibrant colors, cook on low heat.
Preheat Low Heat 1 min
Coat pan with oil
Spread egg yolks thin
Cook Low Heat until cooked
Repeat for egg whites
6. Cut garnish
Once the egg crepes are cooled down, cut them into very thin strips. If the eggs are not fully cooled down, they won’t cut cleanly. Cut seaweed into thin strips with a clean dry pair of scissors. Set egg and seaweed strips aside for garnishing at the end.
Cut egg &seaweed
7. Add ingredients and boil
Add rice cake and dumplings (optional) to the broth. Add 1 tsp of minced garlic and green onions. Season with about 1 teaspoon of salt. (You may need less or more. Taste it as you gradually add salt. Add a pinch of black pepper. Boil on medium heat with a lid on for another 5-10 minutes or until the rice cake is soft (and the dumplings are cooked). If the rice cakes are pre-soaked, you only need to boil for a few minutes.
Boil Med Heat 7 min
Serve in a large bowl and place the egg (white and yellow) strips and seaweed strips on top. If you are feeling lazy or have no time, you can just crack an egg into the soup at the end and boil for a few minutes instead of making the egg garnishes. It would taste different but it still works well. Enjoy!