I love this dish. Hands down, one of my favorite Korean meals as a kid, and nothing’s changed. It’s savory and chewy and it’s got this powerful subtleness to it, if that makes any sense. Not to mention nostalgic. And if made right, you can eat it every week and never get sick of it. Mark and Els are salivating right now, just by me writing about it. And it’s a sure meal for even the pickiest toddler, like mine.
Koreans eat it every New Year to bring forth luck and fortune. Hence why I call it, lucky ‘dduk’ soup! But we don’t treat it as a seasonal dish in our house. It’s in our regular repertoire. I can’t even imagine having it only once a year. That’s just loony.
The recipe actually looks more daunting than it is. I can whip this up pretty quickly and if I had to scale its difficulty from 1-10, ten being the hardest, it would be like a two and a half. Seriously, very easy.
(This is a meatless version by the way.)
*All ingredients can be found at your local Korean Mart
1 Pack of Organic Rice cakes
One handful of dried medium-large anchovies
2 Squares of dried Kelp aka: Dashima
8 cups of water
3-4 cloves of garlic (you can use less, we are just out-of-hand garlic lovers)
2 Green onions
2 Sheets of dried roasted seaweed
1 tablespoon of soup soy sauce aka: guk ganjang (You cannot substitute with regular soy sauce.)
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
A pinch of salt (You can add more according to your taste. We are just salt conscious because of our toddler.)
Lots of ground black pepper!
1. Soak the rice cakes in water for 20-30 minutes. I usually do this first and by the time everything else is done, it’s a good amount of time. If the rice cakes are fresh and unfrozen, they don’t need to soak as long. 10 minutes would be fine.
2. Put the anchovies, kelp, onion and whole garlics in the pot of water and bring to boil. Turn it down to medium-low and let it simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
3. Take the eggs and separate the egg white and the egg yolk into two separate bowls. Whisk it quickly with a fork. (You can add a smidgen of salt in each bowl if you like)
4. Put your pan on medium-low, pour a little bit of olive oil to prevent sticking, and smooth the egg white onto the pan to make a thin crepe-like egg.
5. Here’s where it gets a little tricky. Once the egg becomes well formed, use a spatula and go around the edges. Be very delicate with the egg and start to fold it over slowly. You don’t want to overcook the egg, because you don’t want it to turn brown. A nice egg white color is the goal. It should look like this at the end.
6. Do the same with the egg yolk. Here’s what it should look like side by side.
7. Once cooled, using a sharp knife, slice the egg in strips. At this time, also chop the green onion into fine pieces. And using scissors, cut the dried roasted seaweed into small strips as well. These will be the toppings or garnish if you will, to the soup. This is how it should look!
8. The broth should be ready now. Take the broth and strain out the anchovies, garlic, onion and kelp. Put the broth back in the pot and add the rice cakes, the soup soy sauce, a little more than a pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper.
I throw away the anchovies, kelp and onion. But I put the garlic back into the broth. Like I said, we are hardcore when it comes to garlic, and eat them whole if we find them in our soup. But that is your choice. You can throw it out. Or if whole garlics are too intimidating, you can add a clove of minced garlic back into the broth for more flavor.
9. Put the broth with the rice cakes back on medium high, and let it go for 3-4 minutes. Once the rice cakes rise to the top it is ready! Now add a drizzle of sesame oil into the broth and serve!
10. Scoop the rice cakes and broth into a large bowl. Add some egg yolk strips, egg white strips, green onions and some dried seaweed on the top. Crack more black pepper on top. Serve it with a side of kimchi and ENJOY! The perfect meal for today. Happy New Year!
*SIDE NOTE: If you are pressed for time and want a quick version and don’t care about the ‘look’ per say, you can skip the entire egg part and just crack two eggs in the broth after straining out the anchovies etc. It still tastes amazing, just doesn’t look as pretty! You may also add dumplings to this dish to make it a ‘dduk mandu guk.’ Yum. Yum!