The Good Luck Soup on New Year's Day: Tteokguk (Sliced Rice Cake Soup)
: Tteok-guk, a soup with sliced rice cakes in a clear beef broth, is the traditional dish of Seolnal (Lunar New Year's Day). Korean people commonly use the expression 'I ate a bowl of Tteoguk' to mean he ore she has grown one year older. This soup is cooked in a broth made by simmering beef brisket or bones.
Hoping for Great Fortune
: The custom of eating white rice cakes on New Year's Day originated from the ancient practice of worshiping the sun. The white color of the rice symbolizes the bright first day of a year, while the round form of the rice cake represents the orb of the sun. The long shape of Garaettok (cylindrical rice cake) also holds a special meaning: the long coils o the stew,ed tteok embodies the hope that one's wealth will grow in the same fashion, while the round profile of the sliced rice cakes symbolizes a round coin. In the Gaeseong area, a northern region of Korea, there is a custom of eating Joraengi-tteok-guk. Joraengi-tteok is three-centimeter-long white rice cake. With its pinched middle it looks like a gourd, but it is said that its hale was inspired by a silkworm. Since silkworms traditionally symbolized good luck, it appears to reflect the wish for good luck all year round.
Tteok-mandutguk of the Colder Regions
There is another poplar New Year's Day soup: Tteok-mandutguk (sliced rice cake soup with dumplings). Tteok-mandutguk is made by adding Mandu (dumplings) to the soup. Northerners makes Mandu the size of a baseball and add it to the rice cake soup. Mandu is not eaten very much in the warm southern regions. This could be because the ingredients, such as tofu or mung bean sprouts, can spoil easily. But it's more because Mandu tastes so much better in cold weather. Mandu is a delight to eat, but also fun to make. In Korea, it was a long-held custom for family members to make Mandu together to celebrate the New Year. As the old saying goes, 'The best part of Songpyeon (half-moon rice cake) is the skin, and the best part of Mandu is the filling.' The secret to tasty Mandu is a generous amount of filling.
Fallen Snow in the Dining Room: Garaetteok
: Rice Flour is steamed in an earthen vessel and rolled into cylindrical pieces of Garaetteok, from which regular ones are cut into coin-shaped slices for tteokguk and those smaller in diameter are used for Tteoksanjeok brochette, Tteokjjim and Topokki.
Ingredient & Quantity
600g white rice cake, 6g (1 tsp) clear soy sauce, 6g (1 1/2 tsp) salt, 20g green onion, 60g (1 ea) egg, 1g shred red pepper
300g beef (brisket, shank) - 1.6kg (8cups) water
fragrant seasoning: 20g green onion, 10g garlic
seasoning sauce: 3g clear soy sauce, 1.1g (1/4 tsp) minced green onion, 1.4g (1/4 tsp) minced garlic, o.1g black pepper
1. Clean blood of beef with cotton cloths. Wash the fragrant seasoning cleanly.
2. Put the beef and water in the pot, heat it up for 7 min. on high heat. When it boils, lower the heat to medium, simmer it for 30 min. Add the fragrant seasoning, simmer it for another 30 min.
3. Shred the white rice cake 4cm-long, 0.2cm-thick diagonally.
4. Wash the green onion and cut it into 2cm-long lengthwise diagonally.
5. Pan-fry eggs for yellow/white garish and cut into 2cm of diaper shape.
6. Cut the shred red pepper into 2cm-long.
1. Filter the simmered broth (1.4kg) through cotton cloths, rip up the beef along with the texture (160g)
2. Pour the broth in the pot, heat it up for 5min. on high heat. When it boils, add the sliced rice cake, boil for 3min. When the rice cake float on the surface, season with clear soy sauce and salt, add green onion, bring it to a boil once more
3. Dip up the soup in a bowl, garish with beef (80g), egg and shred red pepper.
A version of this article by 'Korean Food Foundation' Great Food, Great Stories from Korea, and 'Hollym' The Beauty of Korean Food: With 100 Best-Loved Recipes.
- The Beauty of Korean Food: With 100 Best-Loved Recipes/ Hollym & Great Food, Great Stories from Korea/ Korean Food Foundation
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