Rice Cake Soup (tteokguk) for New Years Day is a Korean tradition to bring good luck for the year ahead. The white rice cake (tteok) signifies a clean fresh start for the new year and the round shape resembling coins symbolize prosperity.
Last month, I posted the more traditional recipe for Rice Cake Soup with beef broth and sliced egg yolk for garnish. For lunar new year, I decided to make a vegetarian broth using kelp and mushroom broth and instead of frying the egg yolk, added the egg, similar to egg drop soup, for an easier option. If you’re vegan, you can omit the egg.
For the rice cakes, use pre sliced rice cakes available in the refrigerated section at Korean markets or fresh rice cakes, which you can slice.
As the soup has a light color broth, soup soy sauce is used which is lighter in color than regular soy sauce but saltier in taste. If you can’t find soup soy sauce, you can substitute with fish sauce but it won’t be vegetarian. If you can’t find soup soy sauce, use regular soy sauce.
Rice Cake Tips:
Leftover cooked rice cakes turns mushy so only add enough rice cakes for one sitting. If you want to have more soup the next day, reserve some of the broth. When ready to eat, boil the broth, add the uncooked rice cakes for a few minutes.
Store any leftover uncooked rice cakes in the freezer.