If 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.
I 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!
First 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.
In 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.
Add chopped onion and garlic to the pan and cook together until they are soft, about 2-3 minutes.
Add water, about 3/4 cup…
and 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.
In 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.
Bring 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.
Here it is. Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
Now, 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.
Cook 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.
Ladle riced cakes and the hot liquid into a serving bowl…
Place 2-3 tablespoonfuls of beef sauce and some of its juice on top,
Then sprinkle chopped onion and toasted sesame seeds. And drizzle a drop of sesame oil…
Tear 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!
And 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)!!!
Easy Rice Cake Soup, Miryang style
- 2 lb rice cake rounds
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1/2 lb lean ground beef
- 1/2 small onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3/4 cup water
- 4 tablespoon Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang) 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
- Soak the rice cakes in cold water in a bowl. (No need to soak if your rice cakes are freshly made)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.