Dduk Gook (Guk)–Korean Rice Cake Soup

Wow, look at this, I’m already catching up and we’re on New Year’s Day!!  I’m 5 days behind, but I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s celebration?  Whether festive or quiet, I believe most families have traditional New Year’s day food.  I would think a lot of the ethnic families will have more of this traditional New Year’s day food. 

For us Koreans, our traditional New Year’s food is “dduk gook(guk)”, which literally means “rice cake soup”.   There are different variations to this soup – some use just bones and simmer the soup for few days, some use beef brisket and simmer for few hours, there are also seaweed based soup, etc.  In my family, we use oxtails and simmer for 3-4 days!!  You get all the nutrients from the marrow and the bones, and the meats just slide off the bones and melt in your mouth!! 

With many of my Korean dishes, I don’t have the exact ingredient specifications, but I will do my best. I don’t think you can go wrong with it.  Remember, my dduk gook needs 3-4 days of prepping before you can eat it!!

My recipe will make enough soup for 8-10 people.  You can always cut the recipe into half. 
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3-4 pounds of oxtails (make sure you ask the butcher to trim most of the fat, or you can trim them yourself)
10 large garlic cloves
3 green onions, finely chopped
2 eggs
Korean seasoned laver, thinly sliced
1 package of Korean oval rice cakes (usually comes in a 32 ounce package)
Salt and pepper to taste

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Trim most of the fat from the oxtails.  Put the oxtails in a 5 quart pot and cover the oxtails with water (water should just come above the oxtails).  Put the pot on med-high heat and let it boil;  boil for about 3 minutes.  Drain the water and rinse the oxtails REALLY well.  You can trim more fat at this time if you like. 

Take a 10 quart pot, add the oxtails and fill the pot with water 3/4 way.  Add the garlics and put the pot on med-high until the water boils.  Skim whatever scum which floats on the surface.  Lower the heat to low heat and simmer with the lid partially closed for about 1 hour to 1-1/2 hours.  Put the lid on completely and let the soup rest.  Once the soup cools down put the pot in the fridge. 

Next day skim off the fat on the surface of the soup.  Bring the soup to a boil and let it simmer again for about 1-1/2 hours.  Repeat the process 2 more times. 

Yes!  Finally on the last day, heat the soup.  While the soup is heating, soak the rice cakes in a bowl for 20 minutes. 

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You can buy this at any Korean markets.  I usually buy the brown rice cakes because it’s a bit more health.  Keep the package in the fridge until it’s time to use.
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Soak for about 20 minutes.

If you prefer, make a thin omelet with 2 eggs; once it cools thinly slice.  Chop the green onions, and thinly slice the seasoned laver. 

Drain the rice cakes and add them to the soup.  Bring the soup back to boiling, season with salt and pepper.    Pour into a fairly large soup bowl, garnish with the sliced omelet, laver and green onion. 

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We usually accompany dduk gook with “banchan” – Korean side dishes.  I am not posting recipes for the side dishes today, because this will be ultra long, but if you can get “Kimchi” – Korean spicy pickled cabbage at the Korean market, it will go really well with this soup!!

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Another New Year’s Dduk Gook finished, very satisfying!

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