Duk Mandu Guk, a warming Korean soup with rice cakes and dumplings, is one of my favorite Korean dishes. It has a little bit of everything- a lightly seasoned broth, chewy rice cakes, and filling dumplings. I topped the soup with shredded brisket that I used to make the beef broth, strips of egg, seaweed, and sliced green onions. It is particularly popular during New Year celebrations.
You can add your own homemade mandu or use store-bought. I picked up mandu filled with pork and leeks from my local international market for an easy-to-assemble meal. They can be found in the freezer section of grocery stores featuring Korean ingredients.
The broth takes about 2 hours to simmer, but it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for a couple of days until ready to serve.
This recipe can easily be divided for smaller serving sizes. You can also make the beef broth base and only use some of it for individual servings, freezing the rest for future use.
Check out Chef Julie Yoon for a video of how to make Dduk Guk.
Duk (ddeok, duck, tteok/떡) are Korean rice cakes made from glutinous rice flour. I was able to find Duk in the refrigerated section of the Asian food market (one that specializes in Korean food). If you don’t have them available nearby, you can also make your own. I haven’t tried, but Maangchi has a tutorial on how to make Garaetteok (Cylinder rice cakes- then you can slice them into ovals). Here are more ways to use rice cakes: Tteokguk (Korean Rice Cake Soup) and Gungjung Tteokbokki (Korean Royal Stir-Fried Rice Cakes).
Guk-Ganjang (Joseon-Ganjang/국간장) is a Korean soup soy sauce generally made as a byproduct of doenjang (fermented soybean paste). It is made from soybeans, water, and salt. It is lighter and has more salt compared to regular soy sauce. This light color won’t change the color of the broth and it also has a richer umami taste. It can be found in the condiment section of Asian food markets featuring Korean products. Maangchi also features a way to make your own. After I open a new bottle, I keep it in the refrigerator up to 2 years. Substitutions aren’t recommended, but some that I have come across include using less regular soy sauce and adding more salt to taste or using fish sauce (start with a smaller amount and work your way up based on taste.
Lunar New Year falls on January 28th this year. In addition to Korea, it is also celebrated in China (Year of the Rooster), Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Tibet, Taiwan, Indonesia, Mongolia, and in Japan until 1873. Looking for more Lunar New Year ideas? Here are a variety of previous recipes from China, Taiwan, Korea, and Malaysia:
Duk Mandu Guk (Korean Rice Cake and Dumpling Soup)
Adapted from Chef Julie Yoon
12 cups water
1/2 pound beef brisket
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 green onions, white and light green parts (reserve dark green for topping soup)
3 tablespoons Guk-Ganjang (Korean soup soy sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs, divided
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound sliced rice cakes
1 pound Korean dumplings (Mandu)
3 green onions, green parts- thinly sliced
Gim or nori, thinly sliced or crumbled
To make the broth: In a large pot, combine the water, brisket, onion, garlic, and white parts of the green onions. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer until the brisket is tender, 1 1/2-2 hours. Skim off any white foam that forms on the surface with a spoon and discard.
To make the soup: In a large bowl, add the rice cakes and soak in cold water for 20 minutes.
Remove the brisket from the soup and place in a bowl to cool slightly. Remove and discard the onions and garlic. Return the broth to a boil and season with soup soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
Divide the eggs with the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Place a flat skillet over medium low heat and lightly oil. Beat together the egg yolks and add to the pan, tilting to make a thin layer. Once it is just set and not yet browned, flip to cook the other side until just set. Transfer to a plate or cutting board and slice into thin strips.
Using forks, shred the brisket. Toss with the minced garlic, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Drain the rice cakes and add to the boiling broth along with the dumplings. Stir the bottom of the pot to keep them from sticking. Cook until the dumplings are heated through and the rice cakes are chewy but not completely softened, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Divide the soup among serving bowls. Top with shredded beef, sliced eggs, seaweed, and green onions. Serve immediately.