No Seolnal celebration is complete without ddeok guk (떡국), aka rice cake soup. The soup has been eaten in Korea for centuries and is believed to bring luck for the coming year to those who eat it and to gain an another year of life.
I’ve made ddeok guk the last couple of years, and have tried a couple of different recipes. The first one called for beef broth, and I really didn’t like how it turned out. Last year I used the recipe from Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee’s Quick and Easy Korean Cooking (my favorite cookbook). The soup was wonderful and I’ll definitely be using the recipe again.
Since I don’t feel comfortable including Lee’s recipe verbatim without permission (but you can’t go wrong buying the book), I’ll provide you with a couple of links to recipes. This soup can be made either with only rice cakes or with mandu added.
One other note. Make only what you’ll eat at the meal during which you’re serving ddeok guk. It’s not a soup that is good left over.