Rice cake soup

Tteokguk 떡국

Tteokguk (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!

Ingredients (2-3 servings)


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a heavy pot over high heat and add the beef and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium, cover, and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the  beef  is  tender and  has  infused  the water  with  flavor.tteokguk (rice cake soup) making
  3. Roast both sides of a sheet of gim until it’s bright green and very crispy. Put it in a plastic bag and crush it by hand. Set aside.kim (seaweed-paper)
  4. Separate the egg yolks from the whites of two eggs, putting yolks and whites into separate bowls. Add pinch of salt to each and mix with a fork. Remove the stringy chalaza from the yolks.
  5. Add the cooking oil to a heated non-stick pan. Swirl the oil around so it covers the pan, and then wipe off the excess with a kitchen towel, leaving a thin oily layer on the pan.
  6. Turn off the heat. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the pan and tilt it so it spreads evenly and thinly. Let it cook on the hot pan for about 1 minute. Flip it over and let it sit on the pan for another minute, then take it off, slice it into thin strips and set it aside.egg garnish (jidan)gyeran-jidan (egg garnish)yellow egg strips (gyeran jidan)
  7. Add the rice cake slices to the boiling soup along with fish sauce and kosher salt. Stir it with a ladle. Cover and let it cook for 7 to 8 minutes until all the rice cakes are floated and are softened throughout. Pour the egg whites by little by little into the soup and cook for 30  seconds. tteokguk (rice cake soup)
  8. Add sesame oil, ground black pepper, and chopped green onion. Stir the soup. Remove from the heat and ladle the rice cake soup into individual serving bowls. Garnish with yellow egg strips, crushed seaweed, and red pepper if you want.
  9. Serve it right away, with kimchi and more side dishes if you want. If you wait too long the rice cakes will get soggy, so everybody dig in and enjoy!tteokguk (rice cake soup: 떡국)

tteokguk (떡국)


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  1. Deborah Toronto, ON joined 4/09 & has 47 comments

    hi maangchi,

    i never noticed… but were the rice cakes frozen or dried? i couldn’t tell from the video and you didn’t mention. my family is not korean and in the past, we’ve used the dried version… but i’m not sure if that is the same one you used? please help me clarify that.

    thank you!

  2. Hi Maangchi! :)

    Did you ever post a recipe for the mustard leaf kimchi? lol I really do love that kimchi! :) I also love this soup. I had it when I was in Korea & it was very delicious. You are such a good cook! Can I just move in with you? LOL Just kidding! You’re awesome, keep up the great work!! :D I love your videos and your recipes!

  3. yuyeon& has 3 comments

    just now, i made this soup together with kimchi (don’t know if this combination is good though haha) and it looks delicious! but i still have to taste it yet…
    thanks for all the recipes! they are all good..! most of the time good cook don’t tell their “secrets”… and that’s a pity! :)

  4. Hi again Maangchi!!!
    Today I used the rest of my rice cakes and made the dukguk again (this time with the right ingredients), but the soup still came out not very flavorful. My soup is very liquidy, is it suppose to be more thick because of the rick cakes? I remember eating duk mandoo guk and the soup was kind of thick. So I think I may need to add less water than 8 cups? Do you have any other suggestions? Like adding salt while boiling the beef? Thank you again for your help, Maangchi!! I think I’ll try the pickled broccoli soon!! YAY!!!

  5. Hi Maangchi!!
    I finally started cooking some of your recipes! I started with the dukguk and haha it turned out kind of funny looking, I have a low quality picture if you’d like to see it. So I didn’t have any 3 crab fish sauce :( so I used oyster sauce instead and instead of beef, I used chicken stock to make the stock and it came out tasting pretty bland. Next time I will buy the right ingredients at H-mart, anyways I just wanted to thank you for your hardowrk on the recipes and replying to us!! Goodluck with your cooking class as well, I kind of wish I lived in NY!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      Thank you very much for letting me know about your cooking experiment! : ) I’m sure your next rice cake soup will be super delicious. oh, oyster sauce is not used in rice cake soup! 3 crabs, yes! haha,I’m a big fan of the fish sauce!

  6. Cuckoo& has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi,
    This is 가영 who met you in midtown on Sunday afternoon. After I watched your video, I have tried 떡국,경단,오뎅떡볶이. Anyway, we both in the same town, hope see you soon.

  7. Hi Maangchi

    Thank you very much for your recipes and videos. I’m chinese but I love Korean food. I’m really into cooking Korean food now as you make them look so easy. So far, I’ve tried Kimchi, bibimbap and mandu.
    They tasted great and some Korean housewives here even commented that the kimchi tasted better than the ones they make:)

    However, not much luck with the rice cake soup. It seem to taste a bit bland and I can’t pinpoint what I should add to make the soup more flavorful. I live in New Zealand and I don’t see any 3 crab brand of fish sauce here. Do you think it’s a problem with the fish sauce I use and what would you recommend? thanks

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

      hmm, yeah, the fish sauce is very delicious, but if it is not available, use a different kind of fish sauce.
      To make good rice cake soup, the soup (stock) should be delicious. You could add some chicken broth or use more beef, or boil the water and beef longer until the stock turns good. Then add the sliced rice cakes.

  8. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    You will get 2 large bowls of rice cake soup from this recipe.

  9. Annabelle& has 1 comment

    Hi Mananchi, If I serve large bowls of this soup (like in your video and pictures), can you tell me how many servings or bowls of soup this recipe makes? An estimate would be helpful! Thanks!

  10. Briana& has 3 comments

    Hi Maanchi!

    Yes, I was asking about the leftover soup, so I’ll make sure to make only the amount we can eat in one night. I am making this soup tomorrow for my family! Thank you for the recipe, and for replying so fast!

  11. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    Thank you for the update!

    I don’t understand your question. Do you like to know how to store sliced rice cake?
    Sliced rice cake should be kept either in the fridge or freezer. Personally I never save leftover rice cake soup.
    I usually make the right amount so there are no leftovers.

  12. Yum! I can’t wait to make this! I love dduk mandoo guk! I was wondering, though: can I freeze or refrigerate this to save it?

  13. annie& has 14 comments

    thank you maangchi! now my dduk gook tastes just like my mom’s. :) thank you so much for your recipes.

  14. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,047 comments

    your rice cake soup really looks delicious! I like the clear looking soup that you made. : )

  15. i made this tonight for dinner!! thank you for your recipe maangchi :) http://flickr.com/photos/yeheunkim/3318299962/

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