Easy Rice Cake Soup, Miryang style Tteok-gook

by Beyond Kimchee on January 27, 2014 · 5 comments

Easy Rice Cake SoupIf you are a Korean or familiar with Korean culture, you will know that Koreans enjoy rice cake soup for a New Year’s day.  The whiteness of rice cakes symbolizes the bright new beginning and the elongated log-like shape of the cake (tteok garae-떡가래) represents the upcoming prosperity of the New Year. Having a bowl of rice cake soup also means you are gaining one more year of wisdom and the life experience.

I have posted a rice cake soup recipe a couple of years ago and I would like to introduce another one.

Rice Cake SoupI got this recipe from a wonderful Korean lady whom I met in Malaysia about a year ago. She was from a place called Miryang (밀양), a southern town of South Korea not far from my hometown. She spoke with the charming southern Korean accent that I always adore. Her son and my son were in the same class at school and we occasionally arranged the play dates for the kids even though we lived far from each other. She served this soup for one occasion and I loved it so much.

I was told that this was the way people in Miryang make their rice cake soup. It was unbelievably simple to make and tasted wonderful. Traditional rice cake soup requires a good beef (even bone marrow) or anchovy based stock to start with and that alone takes some time to prepare. With this recipe, you will get your meal ready within 30 minutes, and it is delicious!

With the Lunar calendar new year (emryuk-음력, or the Chinese New Year) approaching within a few days, why not try this simple yet delicious soup for your family? It is all about celebrating the cultural heritage and wishing the Happy New Year, WITHOUT the fuss.

That’s a good start!


tutorialFirst soak your rice cakes in the cold water for 10 minutes if they are frozen or the air vacuumed kind. If the cakes are freshly made, no need to soak.


tutorial-3In a small sauce pan, brown the ground beef with a little oil. Use lean ground beef if possible. Drain some fat (but not all) if your beef has too much fat.


tutorial-4Add chopped onion and garlic to the pan and cook together until they are soft, about 2-3 minutes.


tutorial-5Add water, about 3/4 cup…


tutorial-6and the Korean soy sauce for soup. You can also add a little bit of anchovy sauce to spike up the flavor which I love, but that is optional.


Korean soy sauce for soupIn case you are wondering what “the Korean soy sauce for soup” is like, this is it! We call it “chosun ganjang(조선간장)” or “gook ganjang (국간장)”.

You will provably know that I used this sauce quite often in my recipes if you have been reading my blog. This is not the regular soy sauce. It is different. So, don’t substitute with your everyday soy sauce.


tutorial-7Bring the sauce to boil. You will see some unpleasant scum floating on top. Scoop it out with a spoon. Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes.


tutorial-8Here it is. Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper and set aside.


tutorial-9Now, go back to the rice cake! Bring a pot of water to boil.  Drain the rice cake from their soaking water and dump in the boiling water.


tutorial-10Cook the rice cakes in boiling water until they are tender and soft, about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

That’s all the cooking you need to do! No need to season them.


tutorial-12Ladle riced cakes and the hot liquid into a serving bowl…


tutorial-13Place 2-3 tablespoonfuls of beef sauce and some of its juice on top,


tutorial-15Then sprinkle chopped onion and toasted sesame seeds. And drizzle a drop of sesame oil…


tutorial-14Tear up some seasoned roasted seaweed (Many local groceries carry this seasoned seaweed these days) and top it over your soup. Now the soup is ready to serve!


rice cake soupAnd don’t forget your kimchi to serve with. It is a MUST!

What a satisfying and comforting way to start a New Year in Korean way! Enjoy this soup. You just gained a year of age and wisdom.

The New Year has begun and many of us are geared up with new goals or plans to accomplish what we desire.

An old proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” I read this quote from an inspiring message by one of my church leaders. I love the word “Now”.  Now is the new beginning and the first day of the future. It does help you to find a courage when you fall short from the finish line, no matter how old you are.  This was my humble food for thought. How spiritual!

Happy New Year, everyone!

saehae bok mani badeoseyo (새해 복 많이 받으세요)!!!


BK-Lg signature



Rice Cake Soup

Easy Rice Cake Soup, Miryang style
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 2 lb rice cake rounds
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ lb lean ground beef
  • ½ small onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • ¾ cup water
  • 4 tablespoon Korean soy sauce for soup (gook ganjang or chosun ganjang)
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy sauce, optional
  • 8-10 cups water
  • dashes of black pepper
  • 4 sheets seasoned roasted seaweed, torn into small pieces
  • 2 green onion, chopped
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • sesame oil
  1. Soak the rice cakes in cold water in a bowl. (No need to soak if your rice cakes are freshly made)
  2. Ina small sauce pan, heat the oil and brown the ground beef until no longer in pink over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and continue to cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add water, Korean soy sauce for soup, and anchovy sauce. Bring it to boil and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat covered but a slight opening to ventilate the steam. When done add freshly crack black pepper to the sauce. Set aside.
  4. Mean while, bring a pot of water (8-10 cups) to boil. Drain the rice cakes from the soaking water and add to the boiling water. Cook the rice cakes over medium heat until tender and soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Ladle the rice cakes and some cooking water into a individual serving bowl. Place 2-3 tablespoonfuls of beef sauce and its juice on top. Top with green onion, sesame seeds, seaweed, and a drop of sesame oil. Serve hot with kimchi.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: about 4

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

John@Kitchen Riffs January 27, 2014 at 9:43 pm

What a great dish! This looks terrifically flavorful. Super recipe — thanks so much. And Happy New Year!


Tina January 28, 2014 at 1:31 am

This soup looks really yummy. I want some to those chewiness. :) Need to stop by a Korean market to get the soy sauce. It is any thing similar to the Japanese soy sauce for soup?


Virginia January 28, 2014 at 2:51 am

This looks delicious! Maybe it doesn’t have all the vitamins and minerals of a good bone broth, but it’s so easy that I might actually cook it! Have a happy new year.


Lena L January 28, 2014 at 9:36 am

yet another simple tasty recipe!
I even use marinatied bulbogi for Teok-gook, and I believe it’s called 유학생 떡국. LOL


Nami | Just One Cookbook January 30, 2014 at 1:09 am

Happy New Year to you and your family, Holly! I LOVE THIS! Yours look exceptionally delicious!


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