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Tteokguk for Lunar New Year

Posted by Shannon on 02/03/2011

Today is officially the first day of spring. 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit…this is “your” year if you were born in 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, or 1987.

In South Korea (where I hail from) and other parts of the world, families celebrate this first day of spring by spending time with family, making a pilgrimage of sorts to their hometowns. The focus is centered on filial piety, honoring ancestors and elders.

The day is filled with games, traditional dance & music, games and food.

Traditionally, people start Lunar New Year with a bowl of Tteokguk, which represents health and longevity, in hopes of a better, healthy and long life. Tteokguk is also believed to grant good luck in the new year:

— The first day of the New Year is the new beginning for all makings.

— People start their day eating Tteokguk (white rice cake or “tteok”) to signify the day’s pure and solemn nature.

— Eating one bowl of tteokguk in the morning of New Year’s Day means that you become one year older.

— The rice cake’s round shape is said to be fashioned after coins to symbolize prosperity, while others say represents the sun.

One way to prepare Tteokguk is below, you can find the rice cake pieces at most Asian or Korean grocery stores.

Note: A good broth is key, and slow-simmered & strained beef brisket broth is a popular option. To prepare the tteok, cut the rice cake sticks diagonally and boiled in the broth until they’re very tender. Make sure you place the egg in room temperature before you beat it and add it to the broth. Cold egg will make the broth murky instead of smooth and thin ribbons.

Tteokguk Recipe – serves four:


5 cups beef broth

1 lb sliced rice cake, soaked in water for 2 hours

1 egg, beaten

2 sheets roasted seaweed

Soy sauce to season as desired

2 scallions, cut diagonally

Black pepper to taste.


1. Prepare the beef broth in advance. Prepare the rice cake slices, then remove the egg from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature.

2. Bring the broth to a boil, then add the rice cake slices.

3. Let it cook until it gets soft.

4. Slice the seaweed into 4 pieces with scissors and then into strips. Set it aside.

5. Adjust the soup seasoning with soy sauce and add the scallion.

6. Swirl the soup with chopsticks while putting in the beaten egg as a stream.

7. Separate the soup into individual bowls and put a layer of crumbled seaweed over them.

Happy Year of the Rabbit - !!!

Wishing you an auspicious year ahead, consistently filled with many delicious meals.  Email me your picture if you make this recipe, I’d love to post it on OFPD!!


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