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Teeokguk (rice cake soup) is a delicious, filling soup made of disc-shaped rice cakes in a clear broth. Koreans always eat it on Seollal (Korean New Year’s Day), the first day of the Lunar calendar and one of the most important holidays in Korea. Traditionally, according to Korean age reckoning, everyone’s age went up one year on Seollal, and the process wasn’t totally complete until you had a bowl of tteokguk. I make a beef broth in this recipe, but you can use any meat you prefer, or use seafood, or just make an anchovy stock or kelp stock.
You’d ask someone on Seollal: “Did you eat a bowl of rice cake soup today?” Meaning: are you one year older?
These days Koreans also have tteokguk on Western New Year’s day, January 1st, too. The whiteness of the soup symbolizes a clean, fresh start to the new year, and the disc-shaped rice cakes look like coins, so they symbolize a wish for upcoming prosperity for anyone who eats them.
Despite the symbolism, this soup is not just for special occasions: personally, I eat it all the time, because it’s delicious and easy to make! It’s a one bowl meal.
I think the real key to this soup is i making a clear, delicious broth, which takes some care and attention to do. But overall this is a very easy recipe to make: you can buy the rice cakes in a Korean grocery store, or even make your own with my garaetteok recipe.
Why don’t you make a resolution to try tteokguk on new year’s day, and let me know how it turns out!
Posted Monday, January 19th, 2009 at 3:32 pm
Tagged: ddeokguk, 가래떡, 떡국, garaetteok, how to make Korean rice cake soup, korean food, Korean New Year's Day soup, Korean recipes, rice cake soup, tteokgook, tteokguk
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