Tteokguk | 떡국 | Sliced Rice Cake Soup
Tteokguk is traditionally eaten on Korean Lunar New Year which symbolize turning 1 year older, also bring lucks and longevity. Korean Lunar New Year falls on the same day as our Chinese New Year. Therefore my mom will make Tteokguk for my husband in Chinese New Year Day 1 morning, if we spent our Chinese New Year at my hometown.
Tteokguk consists of the broth/soup (guk) with thinly sliced rice cakes (galle-tteok), garnished with thin julienned cooked eggs, shredded marinated meat, and crushed roasted seaweed (gim). My mom usually will prepare the broth and boiled the tteok, all I need to do is prepared the egg-garnish (Korean:지단 Ji-dan) and crushed roasted seaweed sheet for the garnish. Any meat can be use to make the broth, while beef and anchovy is commonly use in this dish. The tteok shape and garnish can be vary in different regions (in Korea).
This year I decided to wake up early on the first day of Chinese New Year and cook tteokguk by myself for husband and my family. I bought the freshly made garae-tteok in local Korean Marts a day before we drove back to my hometown. If you couldn't get the freshly made garae-tteok, some supermarket (e.g. Jusco Aeon) that selling Korean products is selling packaging garae-tteok too.
Ingredients (4 Servings):
Slice Rice Cake (Garae-tteok) - 4 handful
Beef (brisket or chuck) - 350 grams
Yellow Onion - 1
Garlic - 6 gloves
Spring Onion (white parts) - 3 stalks
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1-2 tablesppon soy sauce
1-2 pinch of salt
1-2 pinch of pepper
How to Cook:
Step 1. In a large pot, add in beef, yellow onion, spring onions,garlic gloves and 10 cups of water and bring it to boil. Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium low and let it simmer for 1 hour with cover. Skim off the scum if any before cover it and let it simmer.
Step 2. Meanwhile, soak the garae-tteok in room water for about 20-30 minutes, until it is soften. Drain out the water and set aside.
Step 3. Simmer until the beef is tender, off the fire, remove all ingredients (meat and veggies) from broth. Discard the veggie, set aside the beef to cool down. Seasoned the broth with 1-2 tablespoon of soy sauce, a pinch of salt and pepper (adjust according to your own preference).
Step 4. Make garnish for ttteokguk - seasoned beef strips, ji-dan and gim.
Seasoned Beef Strips:
Shredded the cooled beef into strips by using hands or thinly julienne it with knife, either way is okay! Seasoned the beef strips with 1/2 teaspoon garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper, mix well and set aside for garnish later.
Egg garnish (Ji-dan)While I am shredding the beef into strips, my mom has get ready the Ji-dan (egg garnish) for me - she accidentally cook the egg white too brown so she re-cook another round again and that's why there are 2 different colors of egg white in the photo below.
To make Ji-dan, separate the egg white and egg yolk in two separate bowls. Beat both white and yolk gently. Heat up a non-stick pan, coat the pan with a little cooking oil, cook the white and yolk separately on medium low heat like how you cook egg crepe / pancake. After cook, roll the egg layer and thinly slice it into strip and set aside.
Crushed Roasted Seaweed Sheet (Gim)
Roast a sheet of unseasoned gim (seaweed sheet) on a pan or direct above the stove fire, crush it or use a cut it into bits using scissor. Or you may use the seasoned seaweed sheet too for the garnish. I am using roasted seaweed seasoned with sesame oil made by myself here.
Step 5. After prepare all the garnish, it's time to cook the garae-tteok with broth. Bring the broth to boil, then add in the garae-tteok and let it cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until it turn soft. Or, you may add in mandu (korean dumplings) and boil together with the tteok, and it will become another delicious korean delicacy - Tteok Mandu-guk ~ which is one of my husband's favourite dish.
Serve the tteok and guk in bowl, garnish it the seasoned beef strips, ji-dan and gim, Tteokguk is ready to serve!
I'm glad my first tteokguk using beef broth turns out well. It reminds me bout last year Seollal when my parents in laws visit us in KL, I made vegetarian tteokguk for the first time using veggie broth and it taste pretty blanch - mom-in-law avoid taking meat or meat broth to prevent indigestion. I will try to challenge vegetarian tteokguk again and will share with you guys if it turns out tasty.