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.
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.
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.
Happy New Year!
Rice Cake Soup (tteok-guk)
For the stock:
- 9 cups water
- 1 lb beef brisket
- 5-6 dried large anchovies optional
- 3 dried sea kelp (dashima) 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Garnish the soup with some roasted seaweed slices or chili if you desire.