Monday, February 7, 2011

Lunar New Year Ddeokguk

The essential food for the lunar New Year is ddeokguk, a mild rice cake soup. Koreans think that eating ddeokguk on Seollal makes you a year older. Until you’ve dug into a steaming bowl of rice cake soup, you’re still the same age as the year before!

If all I have to do is eat a bowl of soup to become a year younger, then sign me up!

EDITED: So apparently I can't read!! Clearly the quote above states that until you eat a bowl of ddeokguk, you're the same age as the year before, but once you eat it, you're actually a year older! Yikes! Glad I only one bowl full. ;0)

Clearly, I need more sleep!

So here's the way I made it on Lunar New Year...

First, I took some sirloin steak and marinated it in a base similar to most bulgogi marinades...garlic, sugar, black pepper, soy sauce, a litte ginger if you have it, and some sesame oil. You can do all this to taste!

Then, I sliced and soaked fresh rice cake. And by "fresh", I mean not frozen. My local Korean market carrys it and it looks like this:

I found it impossible to cut with a knife, so I grabbed a pair of trusty 'ole kitchen sheers and snipped away into nice thin pieces! Soaked for about 30+ minutes. They are super sticky, but delicious!

Fry up the meat that has been marinating after cutting it into thin bite size pieces and set aside.

The recipe called for just plain old boiling water and dried anchovies for the soup base. I knew my family wouldn't love this idea, so I just decided to use beef broth. Toss in the soaked and rinsed rice cake slices, and then I also decided to add some chopped up bok choy for some greens. I let this return to a boil and cook till tender.

Then I whipped up two raw eggs in a cup, and slowly poured them into the soup pot in a thin stream and allowed the egg to cook for a few seconds before stirring. It made the eggs look more like egg drop soup, which is what you're going for! Stir too soon and you'll have a milky soup!

Then place the cooked sirloin into the bottom of the bowls.

Then ladle in the delicious guk!

You can top it with crumbled up toasted seaweed, and some sliced green onions.

I served mine alongside some cucumber and radish kimchi, yum!

I also made up mandu, which taught me some helpful lessons...never try to 'bake' eggroll mandu! I usually fry mine in oil, but tried to stick to something healthier by baking them and it was just a mess! But clearly not enough of a mess to keep Zoey from chowing down!

Braedan, however, had this response when I asked him if he wanted some!

I guess that's a no?!?!?!

All in all it was a delicious ddeokguk that we will have again next year! If I keep this up, I'll be in my twenties forever!

Here's to the Year of the Rabbit!


  1. Awesome! Thank you for the detailed recipe and great pics, I cant wait to try it, hope mine turns out as delish as yours! :) hope to catch up with you one of these days soon!

  2. Your Ddeokguk looks much better than the one I made! I will have to try your recipe next year:-)