With the celebration of Lunar New Year, many Asian families gather to share family and cultural traditions that have been passed down through the generations. Being in Korea this Lunar New Year, I am sharing this recipe for rice cake soup which is made by Koreans for family and visiting guests.
During the New Year holidays, many Koreans return home to pay their respects to elders and wish them prosperity and good health. This rice cake soup is traditionally eaten on New Year’s day because it is believed to give good luck for the year; and, it is symbolic of the person gaining a year of age. In fact, one way of slyly asking a person’s age in Korea is “How many bowls of tteokguks have you eaten?”
As it is typical for some Asian families to start the New Year celebrations with a vegetarian meal, I’ve kept this recipe using vegetable broth. However, this can be substituted with any other stock/broth. While the history of this rice cake soup makes it a seasonal dish, it is actually enjoyed by Koreans at all times of the year and can be found in many restaurants.
Wishing everybody good fortune and health in the new year! 새해 복 많이 받으세요!
Total Time: 30 minutes
1.5 cup oval rice cakes (tteok)
1 small zucchini, peeled and julienned
1 small carrot, peeled and julienned
1 bunch small oyster mushrooms
1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 cup water
2 cans (14.5oz each) vegetable broth
2 tsp. sesame oil (for garnish)
1/4 cup dried seaweed (for garnish)
1) Cut the bottoms of the small oyster mushrooms to remove the stem. Gently rinse and pat dry.
2) Rinse the rice cakes and pat dry.
3) In a pan over medium heat, add oil and cook the the zucchini and carrot until softened. Add mushrooms and cook thoroughly. Remove from heat and set aside.
4) Bring water and vegetable broth to a boil over medium heat. Add rice cakes and cook until softened.
5) Serve in a bowl and place cooked vegetables on top. Garnish with dried seaweed and a drizzle of sesame oil.