This Tteokguk recipe is quick & easy to make yet loaded with flavor, making it the ultimate comfort meal for the new year. This satisfying dish features soft and chewy rice cakes simmered in beef broth, topped with eggs, green onion, and roasted seaweed to give you a burst of umami in every bite.
What is Tteokguk?
Tteokguk (떡국) is a Korean rice cake soup that’s traditionally served in celebration of Korean New Year (Seollal/설날) which marks the first day of the Lunar calendar.
Seollal is one of the most important holidays in Korea wherein families gather together to celebrate the new year and enjoy delicious meals with their loved ones, while also holding memorial ceremonies for their ancestors.
On this special day, steaming bowls of rice cake soup are given to each member of the family as the white rice cakes symbolize purity and a clean start to the new year as well as prosperity and wealth as the rice cakes have a coin-like shape to them.
Moreover, as a popular saying goes, “In order to get one year older, you must eat your tteokguk”, having a bowl of rice cake soup is an important ritual for Koreans to acknowledge that a year has passed, in celebrating a new beginning.
In Korea, age is not measured by your actual date of birth but by the year that one is born – which makes the first day of the lunar new year a day to mark yourself a year older, a ritual that is not complete without having a bowl of Tteokguk.
In today’s time in which many Korean families live abroad, Korean rice cake soup is also prominently served on Western New Year’s Day as well, or for any special occasion for that matter.
Personally, I like to make this dish all throughout the year as it is so simple to make yet incredibly satisfying and comforting.
Although there are many variations of Tteokguk, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite ways to make this dish using beef to create a rich, flavorful broth that also calls for an easy process that anyone can follow.
I’ve also added some frozen dumplings to the soup as one of the most popular variations are with dumplings (Tteok Mandu Guk, or Korean rice cake soup with dumplings) but please feel free to leave these out if you prefer having just rice cakes in your soup.
What do I need to make Tteokguk?
This Tteokguk or Tteok Mandu Guk recipe is incredibly simple to make and calls for a handful of ingredients, making it one of the easiest comfort meals to enjoy during the wintertime. Here is a list of all the ingredients you’ll need:
- Beef: I recommend using a lean cut of beef, such as brisket or flank steak for this recipe.
- Korean supermarkets highlight certain cuts of beef as being ideal for stews/soups, and this is the kind you’d want to use.
- Soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and black pepper: to season the beef and in turn the broth.
- Sliced rice cakes: you can use either fresh or frozen rice cakes for this recipe. If you are using the frozen kind, simply soak them in cold water for about 10-15 minutes before adding to the soup.
- You can find them at the fresh rice cake section or at the frozen aisle, often labeled for making soup in small coin-like shapes (as pictured above).
- Water: or stock. To further enhance the flavors of the soup, I suggest using anchovy, dashi, or chicken stock in place of the water.
- Egg, roasted seaweed, and green onion: for garnish.
- Traditionally, Tteokguk is topped with Jidan, which is a colorful egg garnish made by separating the egg whites and yolks and pan-frying each into thin sheets which are then sliced in strips to be served over each bowl of Tteokguk.
- If you prefer an easier method, you can simply whisk the eggs in a bowl then pour it in a circulated motion to the boiling soup, the same way that you’d make egg drop soup.
And that’s it! All the ingredients you’ll need to make your own batch of Korean rice cake soup to share with your loved ones.
This is personally one of my favorite Korean recipes of all time, which makes it that special to share it with you to stay cozy and warm for new year’s day. I hope the upcoming year is filled with love, laughter, and joy for you all. Stay safe and happy new year everyone! x
I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious Tteokguk recipe, and please leave me a comment below or message me on Instagram if you have any questions. Happy cooking!
Other Korean recipes you may like:
- Easy Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew)
- Soondubu Jjigae (Korean Soft Tofu Stew)
- Tteokbokki (Korean Spicy Rice Cakes)
- Dakdoritang (Spicy Korean Chicken Stew)
- Kimchi Jjigae (Kimchi Stew)
Easy Tteokguk (Korean Rice Cake Soup)
- 150 g beef brisket or flank sliced in small pieces
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cups water anchovy, dashi, or chicken stock for more flavor
- 250 g sliced rice cakes thawed if frozen
- dumplings fresh or frozen, optional
- egg, seaweed flakes, and/or green onion for garnish
- Prepare the rice cakes by rinsing them in cold water 2-3 times. Strain and set aside. This process helps to remove starch and prevents the rice cakes from sticking together.
- In a medium bowl, add beef, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and black pepper. Mix together to combine and set aside.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the beef. Cook for 1-2 minutes until browned, and add water or stock. Skim off any skums, cover, and boil for 15 minutes.
- Add rice cakes and optional dumplings, and boil for 3-4 minutes until the rice cakes are tender. Garnish and enjoy!