Given that today is the second-to-last day of 2009, I really should write something about tteok-guk, the soup with which every Korean celebrates the New Year. Unfortunately, I already wrote about rice cake soup in April. What more can I say?
But I do have a revised recipe. This one is for tteok guk with dumplings or mandu, which I love best, but feel free to leave out the dumplings. The recipe is easily doubled and tripled — feed a crowd!
Wishing you many blessings in the New Year. 새해 복 많이 받으세요.
New Year’s Day Rice Cake and Dumpling Soup
Tteok Mandu Guk
- 1 pound beef brisket, trimmed of fat
- water for soaking, plus 16 cups
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 4-5 scallions
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 24 dumplings, frozen or homemade
- 3 cups sliced rice cakes
- 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (Korean gochukaru if available, optional)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 scallions, green and white parts, sliced into thin rounds
- 4 eggs
- 2 sheets gim or toasted, dried seaweed (also known as Japanese nori and laver, optional), cut into thin two-inch long strips
- freshly ground black pepper
Soak the beef brisket in cold water to cover for one hour. This draws out much of the blood, which is important as Koreans value broth that is clear in color.
Drain the brisket and put it with the garlic cloves, whole scallions, and 16 of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Skim off the foam and fat that appears on the surface of the broth. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 1 hour. Discard the garlic and scallions and cover the pot partially. Simmer another hour until the meat is tender. The broth will have reduced to 12-14 cups.
Remove the meat from the broth. When the meat is cool enough to touch, shred it into thin strips and toss them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, minced garlic, and sliced scallions. Set aside.
In the meantime, soak the rice cakes in cold water to cover for 30 minutes to remove excess starch. Drain and set aside.
Bring the beef broth back to a boil and season it with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of salt. If it needs more seasoning, use salt as soy sauce will darken the broth.
Add the dumplings to the boiling broth. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the rice cakes and simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste one of the rice cakes. It should be tender but still chewy. If not, simmer the soup for another minute or two. Otherwise, break the eggs into the soup and stir to create ribbons of cooked eggs.
To serve, ladle the soup, dumplings, and rice cakes into large bowls. Place some of the shredded beef on top of each bowl with a couple strips of toasted seaweed and a sprinkle of black pepper.