This is a faster version of the special rice cake soup Koreans eat on New Year’s Day. Traditionally, it’s made with a piece of shin or brisket meat, but I love this soup so much I created an easy, weeknight-friendly version anyone can enjoy year-round.
A note on Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang): This is a lighter in color, but saltier in flavor, soy sauce commonly used in Korean soups. If you can't find it, try some regular soy sauce plus some salt. —Hana Asbrink
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is featured in the story, The Lucky Korean Rice Cake Soup I Eat Every New Year's Day. —The Editors
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 4
to 5 cups rice cakes (fresh ones are often found around the holidays near the register of your local Korean market; otherwise bagged fresh or frozen is fine)
vegetable oil, divided (1 teaspoon for beef + 1 teaspoon for egg jidan)
kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
cold water (you can always add more)
eggs, divided (3 eggs, lightly beaten + 2 eggs, separating whites and yolks)
scallions, divided (4 cut into 1-inch diagonal chunks + 1 chopped finely for garnish)
toasted sesame oil
Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang), more to taste
to 3 sheets large sheets of unseasoned nori seaweed, cut by scissor into matchstick-ish size (to match the jidan), and put in a small bowl
More Korean soup soy sauce, soy sauce, or kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper, sesame oil to taste
- In a large bowl filled with cold water, soak the dduk/rice cakes for about 10 to 15 minutes (bit longer if frozen). This step shaves off some cooking time in the pot.
- Put a large soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. Add the ground beef and minced garlic, crumbling with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the water and bump up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Skim off any impurities and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Make jidan: In 2 separate bowls, whisk the yolks and the whites. Add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil to a small to medium nonstick pan, and heat over medium-low heat. When heat, pour the yolks into the pan, spreading evenly. Turn off heat. Let it sit in the pan for a minute before flipping and letting sit a minute more. Remove from heat. Repeat process for the whites. After slightly cooled, slice yellow and white omelettes, separately, in half and then into thin strips, about matchstick-sized. Set aside.
- Drain the dduk from the water, and add them to the broth. Be careful not to walk away for too long at this point! It will cook rather quickly, just 3 to 5 minutes more, depending on your taste. Dduk should not be al dente, but should definitely not be mushy or gummy either.
- Right before you think the dduk is ready, add the scallions to soften in the soup. Add the Korean soup soy sauce. (If you don't have this, add regular soy sauce; note this will make your broth a bit darker.)
- Turn off the heat. Slowly drizzle in the 3 lightly beaten eggs, without touching the soup for about 10 seconds before going in with a wooden spoon and gently creating beautiful, airy egg strands (this is seriously my favorite part!). Add the sesame oil to the soup and lightly stir.
- Ladle dduk guk into large bowls. Top with cut-up seaweed; yellow and white jidan; and chopped scallion to garnish. Season with more Korean soup soy sauce (or regular soy sauce, or salt), and freshly cracked black pepper, if you'd like.