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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 45 min (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
While this Korean rice cake soup is popular comfort food year-round, it’s a must-have on Seollal, the Korean Lunar New Year. The rice cakes themselves encapsulate some of the holiday’s major themes: The hope for vitality, goodness and prosperity in the new year. The white color of the cakes signifies longevity and purity, and they are sliced into disc-like shapes that resemble Korea’s old coin currency, symbolizing wealth in the new year. The broth for tteokguk is typically beef-based, with some versions using marrow bones and some, like this recipe, using brisket. The dish is best served right away as the rice cakes can lose their chewy goodness (or even disintegrate) if left in the broth too long. The good news is it’s easy to simmer up the broth and prepare the garnishes the day before, leaving you to just boil the cakes in the broth and garnish the soup before eating. If you want a heartier soup, you can also add store-bought frozen dumplings to the broth, making it an equally traditional Tteokmanduguk, which literally translates as “rice cake dumpling soup.”



Brisket Seasoning:



  1. For the broth: Add the dasima and 4 1/2 quarts (18 cups) cold water to a large stockpot. Let sit until the dasima doubles in size and the water turns a slight green-yellow, about 30 minutes. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat; boil until the dasima starts to foam around the sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Discard the dasima.
  2. Add the brisket, scallions, garlic and onions to the pot. Bring the liquid back to a boil, lower the heat to medium low and cook, covered, at a gentle boil (where you see 2 to 3 bubbles appearing on the surface at most), using a ladle to remove any scum or excess fat floating on top of the broth every 30 minutes and adjusting the heat if necessary to ensure it is not boiling away, until the broth is slightly reduced and darker and the brisket pulls away and shreds easily but is not falling apart, about 2 hours 15 minutes. Remove the brisket from the broth and set aside on a plate to cool.
  3. Using a slotted spoon or hand-held strainer, remove and discard the vegetables from the broth. Add the gukganjang and season with salt.
  4. For the brisket seasoning: Once the brisket is cool enough to handle, cut it in half against the grain and shred the meat into bite-size pieces. Season the shredded meat with the sesame oil, gukganjang, fish sauce and garlic.
  5. If not making the soup immediately (see Cook's Note), cool the broth completely, then transfer to an airtight container (or leave in the pot) and refrigerate overnight. Any fat will harden at the top and can be removed with a spoon. Place the brisket in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. For the soup: Heat the broth over low heat.
  7. Put the egg yolks and whites in separate medium bowls, lightly season both with salt and whisk lightly to break apart.
  8. Heat 1 teaspoon of the canola oil in an 8-inch nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Pour in half of the egg whites and swirl the pan until the egg covers the entire surface and sets, then continue to cook until the edges start drying and peeling, about 1 minute. (There should barely be any browned surfaces.) Flip carefully to keep it in one piece and cook 1 minute more. Slide onto a plate or cutting board to cool. Repeat with the remaining egg whites, adding another 1 teaspoon canola oil in between, then the egg yolks. Once cooled, roll each egg crepe like a jelly roll and cut into very thin strips. Set aside.
  9. Add the rice cakes to a large bowl and cover with cold water. Set the bowl aside for about 10 minutes, then separate any rice cakes that are glued together.
  10. Raise the heat under the broth, bring it to a boil and add half of the seasoned brisket. Drain the rice cakes and add them to the pot. Cook until the rice cakes are soft, chewy and pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as the rice cakes can become mushy. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary.
  11. Ladle the soup into bowls and top generously with more seasoned brisket, egg ribbons, scallion greens and roasted seaweed in this order, making sure the roasted seaweed is resting or sitting on top of the other garnishes so it doesn't get soggy. Finish with a drizzle of sesame oil. Serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

You can make the broth and brisket the day before, then cool and refrigerate both separately. When ready to serve, proceed with the instructions for making the soup.