Korea – Tteok Guk ( Korean Rice Cake Soup )

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by Evelyn Brutz

This is the traditional Korean dish of the New Year’s celebration. This is a sliced rice cake dish with soups and stew in it. Tteok means Rice cakes and Guk is used to classify soups and stew dishes. This has the addition of many other meat elements most probably beef and seafood also. Many different vegetables like scallions, tofu, mushrooms, Shiitake, etc are added for more color and flavors. Some other side elements like boiled egg or omelet slices, sesame seeds, and gim, nori weed are also part of the dish. This dish is considered a GOOD LUCK DISH.

Beef is specially marinated with some spices and sauces, grilling, and then thin julienne cut slices are served on the top of this amazing stew, UK dish. This is also called ENERGY FOOD. Because of the ingredients, different elements are like the best source of getting energy from food. Protein requirements, carbohydrates, and minerals, nutrients are fulfilled by the Tteokguk.

The broth, guk, or stew is usually cooked by Beef. Dashi broth is also used in different stew dishes. The consistency of the stew is usually not thin or thick. This dish has a mild thick consistency with different condiments like meat and vegetables are added. Spices are added according to the taste of the dish and personal preference.

Kimchi, seven herbs, Spices, kochujang, kochukaru, doenjang are added. Because Korean like spicy food to eat so we can adjust the spice level according to the taste.

In Korea, we have different varieties of soup and stew categories that have their own specific characteristics. The classification is based on Consistency, flavors, and ingredients. The following are the Korean categories of

  • GUK
  • TANG
  • JJIGAE

GUK

Guk is the soup and stew or broth having less watery consistency. This is more towards the thick side but not very thick. It has used less water to make it soupier, less than a broth. This is served as the side dish, served with rice, has the addition of many vegetables and meat. There are a huge variety of GUK dishes. Leftover food is also consumed in this dish of GUK.

There are different Guk dishes :

  • Pork back-bone stew
  • Clam soup
  • Octopus soup
  • Codfish soup
  • Potato soup, etc.

TANG

Tang has a watery and very thin consistency. This is another category of Korean stew dishes. This stew has a very thin and water texture. This dish is served hot and thin like water. This is said that FLAVORED BOILING WATER. Because of spices and added, the texture is very thin and liquid. Tang is similar to guk

The famous dish from the TANG category are :

  • Muguk 
  • Gamjaguk 
  • Bugeoguk 
  • Kongnamul 
  • Jogaeguk 
  • Bogeoguk 
  • Bugeoguk 

JJIGAE

In this dish, different ingredients are added like fish, vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, kimchi, dubu, etc. The stew is cooked with meat options like fish, chicken, beef, fish, clams, oysters, prawns, etc. The broth can be cooked with pork meat and pork bones. The flavors of bones and meat with vegetables make it palatable and delicious.

Korean stew, vegetable broth, meat soups are included in this category with some other condiments and chunky elements.

  • Altang 
  • Ge jjigae
  • Kongbiji jjigae
  • Saengseon jjigae
  • Dongtae jjigae

HISTORY OF THE DISH

The book of DONGGUKSESIGI, that explains the Korean traditions, their food, customs, and many more. In this book, DONGGUKSESIGI, the tradition of eating tteokguk at Korean’s New year is written. It is a book from the 19th Century. Before this book, there was not an exact history about the custom and traditions of the dish.

This book was written by scholar Hong Suk Mo during Joseon Dynasty. Usually, at the time of New year, this dish is cooked with beef slices and beef bones. Broth with seasonings of sesame seeds, black pepper, and soya sauce, etc.

In the book, The Customs of Joseon, white tteok is used in making the dinner for the new year. It is the ritual of good luck. This dish is very healthy and has a good luck sign.

HEALTHY BENEFITS

  • This dish has a very good source of protien in the form of meat.
  • It has anti oxidant properties.
  • It is rich in essential fats and protiens.
  • This dish has all required mineral for the healthy body.
  • Helps in repair muscles.
  • Maintian muscles tone and strength.
  • It has rich source of iron.
  • It is good in symptoms associated with cold.
  • It soothes the body in winters and cold.

NUTRITION

  • 230 calories
  • 25 g of Carbohydrates
  • 18 g of fat
  • 28 g of protein
  • 10 g sugars
  • 6 mg of iron
  • 23 mg of zinc
  • 250 mg of Calcium
  • 4.1 g Dietary fiber

ELEMENTS OF THE TTEOKGUK

STEW

The stew of tteokguk is basically cooked by adding beef meat and beef bones. The stew has all the taste and flavor of beef. The bones are used to make it richer in the texture of the dish. Sometimes, dashi broth is also used to make this dish. The taste, flavors of the dish cooked with beef meat and bones are way more delicious than dashi broth.

There are many other meat and vegetables from which this broth is made :

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Chicken

TTEOK

Tteok is the rice cake that is added to this stew for more flavors and good texture. The classic Korean rice cake used to be cooked daily with many other dishes have this tteok. Glutinous rice flour is used to make it. It is cooked by steaming and then shape into different shapes. There are huge varieties of tteok cooked with different flavorings :

  • Chestnut tteok
  • Pumpkin Tteok
  • Red beans tteok
  • Pine nuts tteok
  • Honey tteok
  • Cinnamon tteok
  • Sesame seeds tteok

OTHER CONDIMENTS

  • Kimchi
  • Boiled egg
  • Daenjang
  • Daikon
  • Kkochukaru
  • Kochujang
  • Sesame seeds
  • Gim/ Kim
  • Nori
  • Noodles
  • Sliced cooked eggs

INGREDIENTS

STEW

  • Beef brisket : 250 grams
  • Onions : 1 chopped
  • Scallions : 2 chopped
  • Soya sauce : 1/2 cup
  • black pepper cones : 4

RICE CAKE

  • Glutinous rice flour : 1 cup
  • Warm water : 1 cup ( can be more or less for kneading )
  • Salt : 1/2 tsp

SEASONINGS

  • gochugaru : 3 tbsp
  • Seven Herbs : 1 tbsp
  • Chili flakes (kochukaru) : 1 tsp

CONDIMENTS

  • Cooked eggs : 2 (slices)
  • Gim strips : 2 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds : 2 tbsp
  • Scallions : 2 chopped

COOKING METHOD

  • To cook stew or broth, beef meat is added in the pan with 4 glass of water and onions, scallions, soya sauce, etc.
  • Let this beef cooked for 20 minutes until the water reduced to half, almost 2 glass.
  • The beef must be tendered and cooked completely.
  • To cook rice cakes, take rice flour in a mixing bowl and start adding warm water in the flour to make it like a dough.
  • Warm water is giving nice fluff to the rice flour and makes it more glutinous.
  • Now knead the dough properly and make dfferent shapes of the rice cakes.
  • When broth is ready, add rice cakes into the broth with scallions and let it cook.
  • The addition of rice cakes, make the stew thicker and less watery.
  • Now add sesames seeds, gim strips, sliced cooked egg on the top of the stew before serving.
  • Enjoy wit your love ones.
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