Dduk Guk (Korean Rice Cake Soup)
Dduk guk is prepared with soft and chewy rice cakes in a rich, beef-based broth and a variety of toppings. While traditionally eaten on Lunar New Year, this warm soup is still delicious to have year round.
Dduk guk (tteokguk, ddeoguk, 떡국) is traditionally eaten with family to celebrate Lunar New Year’s day. The disc-shaped rice cakes in this soup represent coins and prosperity for the new year. The white color of the rice cakes also symbolize a bright and clean start to the new year.
Lunar New Year
In Korea, Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays of the year. It is a three-day celebration that starts on the first day of the year on the lunar calendar. Most Koreans use this holiday to spend time with extended family and pay respects to their ancestors. It is common to say saehae bok manee badeusaeyo (새해 복 많이 받으세요), which means wishing you many blessings in the new year. Yut nori (윳놀이) is a popular stick-tossing board game that Koreans also like to play on this holiday.
Korean Rice Cake
Ddukguk dduk, or rice cake ovalettes, are made from cylindrical rice cakes called garaedduk (가래떡). The garaedduk are cut thinly at a diagonal. They are slightly sweet but have a mostly neutral taste. They soak up some of the flavors from the soup and are soft, chewy and delicious.
If possible, try to use locally or freshly made rice cakes. The refrigerated or frozen rice cakes are usually a bit dry. You can most likely find these rice cakes in the refrigerated section of your local Korean supermarket.
Dduk Guk Soup Base
There are different ways to prepare this dish. This recipe uses an anchovy, dashima, AND beef-based broth. I also have a dduk guk recipe that uses a simple dried anchovy and dashima based broth (see recipe here). You get a richer tasting soup when you add beef. You can also shred and season the beef used to make the broth and serve it with the soup. I like to use beef brisket for its flavor and for additional protein in this dish.
Dduk Guk Toppings
The usual toppings for dduk guk are egg, green onions, and dried roasted seaweed (geem, 김). I also like to add the seasoned, shredded beef brisket and shiitake mushrooms. If you want more vegetables in your soup, I recommend adding some julienned carrots or zucchini.
Other Soup Recipes
Mise En Place
If you make this Dduk Guk, I would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment and/or recipe rating at the bottom of this page. And if you have a photo of your food, be sure to tag me on Instagram!
Tteok Guk (Korean Rice Cake Soup)
- 1 lb Korean rice cake ovalettes
Dduk Guk Broth
- 11 cups water
- 1 lb brisket (roughly 3" by 6" slices)
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 g ginger, peeled
- ½ onion
- 1 dried anchovy seafood soup packet
- 1 cup shiitake, sliced
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 3 green onions, sliced thinly at a diagonal
- ¼ cup roasted seaweed sheets, crushed
- toasted sesame seeds (optional garnish)
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- ¼ tsp gochugaru
- ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
Dduk Guk Broth
- Soak the brisket in cold water for 1 hour in a large pot, changing the water every 15 minutes. This will remove some of the blood from the brisket, resulting in a cleaner broth.
- Drain the water from the pot. (Make sure to disinfect any surfaces the discarded water may have touched e.g. kitchen sink, counter).
- Add the onion, ginger, garlic, and the 11 cups of water to the pot with the brisket, and bring it to a boil. Use a skimmer to remove any residue as it comes to a boil. Let it simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add the anchovy seafood soup packet and let it simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Pour out the broth over a colander into a large heatproof bowl. Place the brisket back into a separate bowl, and discard everything else in the colander. Pour the broth back into the pot.
- Let the brisket cool down a bit (but not completely) and shred the brisket. If you let it cool completely it will toughen and be difficult to shred.
- Mix the ingredients for the brisket seasoning in a small bowl.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the shredded brisket and seasoning.
- Mix together for about a couple minutes and transfer to a bowl.
- Heat some toasted sesame oil in the same skillet and sauté the shiitake mushrooms for a couple minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl.
- Wipe down the skillet and heat it over medium-low heat. Drizzle some canola oil and pour in the whisked egg whites. Gently tilt the pan around to spread the egg into a thin layer. Lower the heat and let it sit until almost cooked through. Flip it over and let it cook for about 30 seconds or until cooked through.
- Let the cooked egg white cool on a cutting board and then cut into diamonds or thin strips.
- Repeat the last two steps for the whisked egg yolks.
- Rinse the rice cakes in cold water.
- Bring the broth back to a boil and add the rice cakes. Let it simmer for a couple minutes or until the rice cakes are soft and chewy.
- Ladle some of the soup and rice cakes into a bowl and add the toppings (seasoned brisket, egg, green onions, shiitake, crushed roasted seaweed sheets, and toasted sesame seeds). Add salt and pepper TT.
- Serve immediately.