Rice Cake Soup, the Korean way of new beginning

Korean Rice Cake Soup

Happy New Year! The year of Rabbit, yeah!
I stayed up after midnight to welcome the year 2011. There were some regrets that I have left behind in year 2010 but decided not to look back. I already have set my new resolutions to accomplish this year, which is basically renewing the old ones…, LOL!  I’m looking forward to have another new beginning to be unfold in front of my eyes. I am just happy to live on this earth full of interesting things.

When I was a kid, New Year’s day is the day we earn lots of money. We put on new clothes and go visit relatives, bow in full to them. We call it 세배(sebae). You lower your whole body to the ground to show them respect. In return, grandparents, uncles and aunts pay money to us. I used to earn over $100 each year after back breaking bowing business. I came from big family with lots of relatives.

Food is a big part of the festive day of New Year. We make dumplings, rice cakes of all kinds, braised beef ribs, all kinds of pan fried cakes and fritters, steamed fish, etc. I remember very long long table my mother had. Full of many dishes on the table we all mingled with our uncles, aunts, and cousins,  enjoying and celebrating the new beginning together. Our family tradition after the meal was Karaoke. My dad used to record our singing and replayed that tape for us to listen. We laughed and made jokes of each other. I think my family was glad that I desired cooking more than singing.

I made the rice cake soup, 떡국 (Ddukgook) on New Year’s day. It is very easy to make with a few ingredients. For any soups, the most important thing is the stock. I use beef brisket for the stock, but with a hint of some dried sea kelp and anchovies added. If you are not a big fan of anchovies, you can skip them. Sliced rice cakes can be easily found in most Korean groceries, some as frozen, or some fresh.

Main ingredients are; sliced rice cakes, beef brisket, onion, black peppercorn, anchovies, dried sea kelp(kombu), green onions, eggs, and garlic which I forgot to add in the picture.

These are for seasoning the soup. Mirim(sweet rice wine, you substitute with regular rice wine or skip it), Korean soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and salt.

Let’s make the stock first. Have them bath all together; beef, anchovy(optional), sea kelp, onion, peppercorn, and rice wine in a pot. The party has just begun.

When they come to boil, remove the sea kelp. She needs to go home (it gets slimy if cooked too long). Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, covered. This will make very flavorful stock.

Meanwhile soak your main actress in the water for 15 minutes, drain and set aside. If your cake is made fresh (soft to touch), no need to soak.

When the stock is done, drain and discard everything except the beef.

Cool the beef for a few minutes and shred them into desired sizes.

Beat eggs lightly and set aside.

Bring the stock back into pot and let it boil again and add the drained rice cake. The cakes will sink to the bottom of the pot, so stir them with a spoon. Add the reserved beef at this point.

You will see some scum floating on top, remove it using a spoon. When the rice cakes are done, they will float to the top.

Reduce the heat to medium low, add Korean soy sauce and chopped garlic.

Add beaten eggs in swirling motion but do not stir the soup.

Add green onion, sesame oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Done!

Garnish the soup with some toppings.
Roasted seaweed slices are excellent choice to add, but chili or mushrooms are good too.
Gather up the crowds and serve the soup immediately. If you have Kimchee as side dish you are one sensible chef. They must go together.

Eat, celebrate, and share wise goals for the new year with each other.
There is nothing like having family together on the day of new beginning.
I have my kids and the piano man to set 3 goals to accomplish this year.
We talked about their realistic goals.
They asked me what my goals are,
So I answered,
My goal is to remind you to accomplish your goals

Happy New Year!


Rice Cake Soup (tteok-guk)

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 4-6

Rice Cake Soup (tteok-guk)


    For the stock:
  • 9 cups water
  • 1 lb beef brisket
  • 5-6 dried large anchovies (optional)
  • 3 medium dried sea kelp, rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorn
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine
  • For the soup:
  • 2 lb rice cakes, soaked in water for 15 minutes and drained
  • 2 Tbsp Korean soy sauce
  • 2-3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • roasted seaweed, chili slices, or mushroom slices for garnish (optional)


  1. To make the stock, combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to boil. Remove the sea kelp, reduce the heat to low, cover with lid and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the stock and discard all except the beef. Shred the beef into desired size and set aside.
  2. To make the soup, bring the stock to boil again. Add the rice cakes and reserved the beef, stir. There will be some scum forming on the soup, remove with a spoon.
  3. When rice is fully cooked they will float to the top. Reduce heat to medium low, add chopped garlic and Korean soy sauce. Add the beaten eggs in swirling motion, add green onion, sesame oil, salt and pepper to season. Remove from heat and serve immediately with some Kimchee on the side.
  4. Garnish the soup with some roasted seaweed slices or chili if you desire.

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  1. 3

    Guest says

    This looks absolutely delicious! I will definitely make it soon. Seems to be perfect for the cold days we are having here. Thanks for posting!

  2. 7

    Jane says

    Have just stumbled on your website looking for a ddukguk recipe for celebrating New Year – this is by far the best out there! Will be enjoying for dinner tonight (Happy Year of the Horse) and am already making plans for when the family will be eating kimchi stew….thanks. From the Aussie who loves eating (and is learning to cook) Korean!

  3. 8

    Nhung says

    Hello :3

    I’ve tried your other rice cake soup recipe and it was delicious, so I thought about cooking this one for my mother after she comes back from her holiday trip. However, I won’t be home during the day. Do you think I could make this soup the day before and leave it for her to heat it up later? Would the rice cake survive soaking in the soup for several hours? Or could you recommend me another way how I can prepare this dish?

    Thank you ever so much! You are reall the best <3



    • 9


      Hi Nhung
      Unfortunately you can make this recipe with rice cakes in the soup head of time. The rice cakes will get very soggy. If I were you, I will make the stock, simmer and shred the beef ahead of time. Then all you have to do is to heat the stock with beef and add rice cakes to cook together (add the eggs at the last minute). It will still take some time to prepare but a lot shorter than starting from the beginning.
      Hope this helps.


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