Tteok Mandu Guk (Korean Rice Cake Soup with bibigo Dumplings)

Difficulty Easy

Happy New Year! Celebrate Seollal with a traditional Korean soup: Tteok Mandu Guk or Korean Rice Cake Soup with Dumplings. A bowl of tteokguk is such a delicious way to welcome the new year with family and friends. Savory beef broth, chewy rice cake, and plenty of dumplings (mandu) combine to make an incredibly delicious and comforting Korean soup. 

*Thank you to CJ Corporation for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.* A mirrored article can be seen on the CJ Corporation’s Newsroom.

What is Tteok Mandu Guk or Korean Rice Cake Soup?

Tteok Guk is a traditional Korean soup made with savory beef broth and chewy Korean rice cakes. A festive and special soup, it’s commonly enjoyed on the Lunar New Year or Korean New Year, called Seollal. For Korean Americans living in North America, it’s also eaten on January 1st. 

“Tteok” means rice cake and “Guk” means soup. Tteok Guk includes plenty of round, flat rice cakes. The oval shape of the rice cakes looks like old Korean coins and represents prosperity or good luck. In Korean tradition, eating a bowl of Tteok Guk on New Year’s Day is a way to ensure a prosperous new year. 

Tteok Mandu Guk is a slight variation of Tteokguk. Including dumplings, called Mandu in Korean, makes this classic Korean soup even more delicious and hearty. Nothing is more delicious than plump, meaty-filled dumplings floating in a clear broth with plenty of chewy rice cakes. YUM!

To make Korean Rice Soup especially festive, make sure to include a variety of colorful garnishes. Yellow egg strips, black roasted nori, and green onions. Such a pretty soup to welcome the New Year!

Ingredients:

  • Mandu. Korean dumplings are called Mandu. To make Tteok Mandu Guk easier, I use pre-cooked, frozen bibigo Mandu. They make Korean Rice Cake Soup especially quick and delicious to make.
  • Beef. Use chuck roast, top sirloin, flank steak, beef brisket, or bulgogi beef. Look for well-marbled meat that’s not too lean.
  • Beef Bouillon. Adds a big boost of beefy flavor. I store CJ Foods Beef Dasida in the fridge and add a spoonful to any beef-based soup. My secret ingredient!
  • Stock. For the savory broth, there are many options. Traditionally, milky-white Korean beef bone soup is recommended. But it takes a long time to cook. Instead, look for ready-made Beef Bone Stock at the Korean market. They can be found in foil pouches or plastic soup containers in the prepared foods section. Regular beef, vegetable, clam, and anchovy stock also work. In a pinch, water also works!
  • Garlic. Fresh minced garlic provides a big boost of flavor.
  • Soy Sauce. For this recipe, Korean Soup Soy Sauce or Guk Ganjang is preferred. But if you don’t have it, regular soy sauce also works. Don’t use low sodium soy sauce as it tastes very flat.
  • Sesame Oil. A drizzle at the end adds so much nutty flavor and aroma!
  • Black Pepper. A few cranks of freshly ground black pepper add earthy spice.
  • Rice cakes (Tteok/Dduk). In Korean cuisine, there are many different kinds and shapes. For Tteok Guk, use pre-sliced, oval-shaped Tteok or Dduk. They are thin slices that come from large cylindrical rice cakes.

Garnish:

  • Eggs (Jidan). Make a thin, crepe-like egg pancake in a non-stick skillet and slice into thin strips.
  • Nori or Gim. Roasted, seasoned nori sheets add lots of flavor and umami depth! Deliciously earthy and nutty. Add right before serving to preserve the texture. Can be crumbled or cut into thin strips.
  • Green onion. Adds freshness and color.
three bowls filled with garnish for Korean Rice Cake soup: nori, green onions, egg strips

Instructions:

1. Prep beef. Slice beef into 1/8-inch thin strips — against the grain — so it’s not too chewy. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.

2. Prep garnish. While the beef marinates, prep the garnishes.

3. Cook beef. Heat a large pot to medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp of oil. Add beef and stir frequently until browned and mostly cooked.

4. Add soup stock. Add soup stock of choice, beef bouillon powder (dasida), and Korean soup soy sauce. Bring to a boil and skim out the scum that rises to the surface. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until the flavors meld together.

5. Add rice cakes and mandu. Add garlic, rice cakes, and frozen mandu. Cook gently until the rice cakes are soft and chewy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not overcook!

6. Serve. Right before serving, add a drizzle of sesame oil for extra richness. Garnish with egg strips, nori (crushed or cut into strips), and green onions. Serve with a side of kimchi and rice. Enjoy!

PRO Tips:

  • Buy pre-made beef stock. My favorite cooking tip for making fast, easy, high-quality Korean Tteok Guk at home. Look for pre-packaged, milky white beef bone stock (sometimes called Seollangtang) at the Korean grocery store. They will be available in foil envelopes/pouches or plastic soup containers.
  • Prep rice cakes. Defrost frozen rice cakes by soaking in cold water for 15 minutes. If using refrigerated rice cakes, rinse in cold water to remove starch or residual moisture. Room-temperature rice cakes can be directly added into the soup, as is.
  • Slice beef AGAINST the grain. To prevent overly chewy beef, it’s essential to slice as thinly as possible AGAINST the grain. Look for the long strands of beef that point in the same direction. Slice perpendicularly so the long beef strands are cut into thin strips.
  • Don’t overcook! Tteok Mandu Guk is easy to overcook. The rice cakes can turn mushy, start falling apart, and disintegrate into the broth when cooked too long. Instead, cook until the rice cakes float, are soft and chewy, but still retain their shape, about 3-4 minutes.

Variations:

  • Make it Vegetarian or Vegan. Swap out the beef stock and make a vegan broth instead. For the broth, combine kombu and shitake mushrooms and cook for 20 minutes. Slice shitake mushrooms thinly and marinate as you would the beef. Use egg substitute in place of the egg garnish.
  • Add egg directly to the soup. Instead of making an egg garnish that’s added on top — the egg can be cooked in the soup. Add the egg mixture to the simmering soup and use a circular motion with chopsticks of a wooden spoon to combine. The resulting texture will be thicker, like egg drop soup, with fluffy, silky egg ribbons swirled throughout.
  • Tteok Guk Ramen. For a different texture, add a package of instant noodles and cook until soft. The combination is delicious.

FAQ:

Can I make this ahead of time?

The broth and garnish can both be made ahead of time, up to a day before. Keep covered in the fridge. Do not add the rice cakes and dumplings until ready to serve! 

How do I store leftovers?

Store cooled leftovers in the fridge, tightly sealed. When reheating, the soup will be thick. Gently reheat over medium heat, stirring so the rice cakes don’t stick to the bottom. You may need to add more water/stock to achieve the right soup consistency.

Other recipes to serve at Seollal:

Other recipes with rice cakes (tteok/dduk):

two bowls filled with korean rice cake soup with dumplings (tteok mandu guk)

Tteok Mandu Guk (Korean Rice Cake Soup with Dumplings)

Celebrate the New Year with Tteok Mandu Guk or Korean Rice Cake Soup with Dumplings! Savory beef broth, chewy rice cake, and mandu (dumplings) are garnished with egg strips, roasted nori, and green onions. A kid-friendly soup that's just as easy to make for weeknight dinner. Pre-made beef bone broth and frozen dumpings make this comforting Korean rice cake soup especially quick to prepare.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Korean
Servings 4
Calories 965 kcal

Equipment

  • Large stock pot

Ingredients
  

Beef:

  • 3/4 lb/225 grams beef chuck, beef flank steak, top round, beef brisket, or bulgogi beef *look for a well marbled piece
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil

Soup:

  • 7 cups stock (pre-made beef bone broth, beef stock, anchovy stock, chicken stock, vegetable stock, or clam broth)
  • 1-2 Tbsp CJ Dasida Beef Bouillon powder (depending on salt content of stock that's added; add to taste)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Soy Sauce (to taste)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups sliced Tteok
  • 2 cups frozen bibigo mandu (dumplings)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (drizzle right before serving)

Garnish:

  • 3 eggs, preferably organic
  • 2 packages roasted seasoned seaweed snack (Gim)
  • 3 green onions

Instructions
 

  • Prep beef. Slice beef into 1/8-inch thin strips, against the grain, so it's not too chewy. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil. Set aside to marinate for 10 minutes.
  • Prep garnish. While the beef marinates, prep the 3 garnishes. Snip nori into thin strips with scissors or crush with hands; set aside in a bowl. Finely mince green onions abd set aside in a bowl.
  • To make the egg garnish: whisk eggs in a small bowl. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 1 tsp oil and swirl in the pan. Add eggs and immediately swirl the eggs so they reach the edges of the pan and make a thin, crepe-like pancake. When the bottom of the egg pancake is firm and the top is mostly cooked, flip to the other side. Turn off the heat and let the residual heat cook the other side, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and cool completely. When the egg pancake is cool, roll as tightly as possible. Slice into thin strips. Set aside in a bowl.
  • Cook beef. Heat a stock pot to medium heat and add 1-2 tsp of cooking oil. Add beef and stir frequently, until browned and mostly cooked. It's ok if the beef is not fully cooked.
  • Add soup stock. Add soup stock of choice, beef bouillon (dasida), and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and skim out the scum that rises to the surface. Cook for additional 10 minutes, with the lid partially askew, until the flavors meld together.
  • Add rice cakes, mandu, and garlic. While the soup is simmering, add rice cakes, frozen mandu, and garlic. Stir gently and cook until the dumplingsand rice cakes float, about 4-5 minutes. Taste a rice cake to make sure they are soft and chewy. Do not overcook!
    *Mandu that are not pre-cooked or especially large may take longer to cook. In that case, add the mandu first then add the rice cakes a few minutes later.
  • Serve. Right before serving, add a drizzle of sesame oil to the soup pot for extra richness. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with egg strips, nori (crushed or cut into strips), and green onions. Enjoy!

Notes

Additional Tips:
  • Buy pre-made beef stock. My favorite cooking tip for making fast, easy, high-quality Dduk Guk at home. Look for pre-packaged, milky white, beef bone stock (sometimes called Seollangtang) at the Korean grocery store. They will be available in foil envelopes/pouches or plastic soup containers.
  •  Make sure to slice beef against the grain. To prevent overly chewy beef, it’s important to slice as thinly as possible AGAINST the grain. Look for the long strands of beef that point in the same direction. Slice in a perpendicular direction so the long beef strands are cut into thin strips.
  • Don’t overcook! Tteok Mandu Guk is easy to overcook. The rice cakes, especially, can turn mushy, start falling apart, and disintegrate into the broth when cooked too long. Instead, cook until the rice cakes float, are soft and chewy, but still retain their shape, about 3-4 minutes. Look at the edges of the rice cakes and make sure they are still firm and not “melting” and disappearing.
  • To prep rice cakes. Defrost frozen rice cakes by soaking in cold water for 15 minutes. If using refrigerated rice cakes, rinse in cold water to remove starch or residual moisture. Room-temperature rice cakes can be directly added into the soup, as is.  
Variations:
  • Make it Vegan. Swap out the beef stock and make a vegan broth instead. For the broth, combine kombu and shitake mushrooms and cook for 20 minutes. Slice shitake mushrooms thinly and marinate as you would the beef. Use egg substitute in place of the egg garnish.
  • Add egg directly to the soup. The egg can also be added directly to the soup. The resulting texture will be thicker, like egg drop soup with fluffy, silky egg ribbons swirled throughout.
  • Tteok Guk Ramen. For a different texture, add a package of instant noodles and cook until soft. The combination is delicious.
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Nutrition

Calories: 965kcalCarbohydrates: 172gProtein: 26gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 3110mgPotassium: 434mgFiber: 8gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 4395IUVitamin C: 39mgCalcium: 133mgIron: 6mg
Keyword Guk, Mandu, Rice Cake Soup, Tteok
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30 minutes, All Recipes, Beef, Holiday, Korean, Main, Soup, Weeknight Meals

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