March Favourites 2020

Favourite Food product of the month: Korean rice cake soup (Tteokguk 떡국)

Jongga Chilled Rice Cake – Sliced (500g)
Photo credit: Fairprice.com.sg

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, I have been “self-quarantine” myself at home or should I say staying at home as much as possible to minimise contact with the people outside. I think this is a good way to upgrade my culinary skills.

From my understanding, Tteokguk 떡국 is a Korean dish that it’s taken only during the Korea Lunar New Year – Seollal. I went to further research on this dish and realised that it was a symbolic dish due to its ingredients that the white tteok (rice cake) represents purity and cleanliness – a fresh start for the new year. The round coin-like shape of the rice cakes resembles Korea’s old coin currency, yeopjeon, that was believed to symbolise prosperity.

Seollal, Korea Lunar New Year, also add one year to a Korean age. It was traditionally said that one cannot become a year older until they have had a bowl of tteokguk (Korea rice cake soup). Tteokguk is typically made with meat broth (soy sauce seasoned stock) that was simmered for hours. After which the stock will be strained to clarify the broth before adding the rice cake allow it to boiled in the clear broth. The dish is served with stew/brisket meat, pan-fried julienned egg, seaweed and garnish with spring onions.

For more information about the history of tteokguk, you can check out the link here: tteokguk

I aware that this dish is usually eaten only on the Korea Lunar New Year but since it’s sold in my local supermarket might as well attempt to make one. Besides, neither am I a Korean nor do I speak the language but I do respect the Korea culture. One packet of the rice cake cost 3.20 SGD which is reasonably priced and for 500 grams I can make about 5 bowls of rice cake soup considering that I have a small appetite.

I do not really follow the traditional Korean recipes, I improvised the recipe and called it my own edition of tteokguk.

My Korea rice cake soup

My Recipe for tteokguk (Korea rice cake soup)

This recipe is made for 1 serving.

Total cooking time: 1.25 hours

For the soup stock:

  • Chicken carcass (you can use any type of meat bone for the stock)
  • ¼ of yellow onion (optional)
  • 3 thin slices of young ginger (optional)

Place the chicken carcass, yellow onion and young ginger into a small pot and simmer it for 1 hour. If you have time, you can simmer it longer and the stock will be richer with collagen.

For the ingredients:

  • 100g marinated* minced pork (you can any type of meat)
  • 1 carrot (slice into thick chunk or how you like it to be)
  • 1 egg
  • A bunch of leafy vegetable of your choice. (Cut into small piece if its big).
  • Approximately 100g of frozen rice cake.

*The minced pork is marinated with Korea sesame oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and a little fish sauce.

When the soup stock has simmered for about 40 minutes, put in the chunk carrots into the small pot. This will bring a natural sweetness to the soup.

Once the soup has simmered for 1 hour, lower the heat and remove the chicken carcass, yellow onion and young ginger.

Add some crystallised sugar and salt to enhance the taste of the soup stock.

Add the remaining ingredients (minced pork meat, leafy vegetable, egg) into the pot with the carrots and allow it to boil.

Once the water boil, slowly adds in the rice cake one by one to prevent it from sticking to one another. Allow it to boil for an additional 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat and pour the rice cake soup into a bowl and serve! Optional: garnish some spring onion before serving.

I think this is a pretty simple dish to cook and a good dish for a rainy day.

I have come to the end of my post. If you are interested in any of the product mentioned, feel free to search it up! I hope you guys stay healthy and safe!

Cheers!