Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lunar New Year: Traditional Dduk Guk

This soup is a MUST for the New Year!  It is a rich beef stock in which the dduk, or rice cakes, are boiled just until cooked.  These rice cakes are made by rolling the dough into logs 1 inch in diameter and sliced diagonally into ovals.  You may make the Dduk for Dduk Guk yourself, but, I usually purchase it.  You can find it at any Korean grocery.  They may have it fresh or frozen; either is fine.  The dduk can be found in a variety of shapes but for the New Year, the oval dduk are traditional.

The secret to this delicious soup is in the boiling process.  This soup is boiled three times.  However, while I am admitting that I do not make my own dduk for Dduk Guk, I should also admit that I do not always boil my soup 3 times.  Boiling the soup three times is really the only way to get the full marrow from the bones.  In fact, before boiling each time, I should pour off the previous water to save for other soups and add new water to make a more pure marrow soup each time.....but, after 3 times, that is just too much soup for my family! 

Traditional Dduk Guk
(Rice Cake Soup)

2-3 lbs. beef bones
1-2 lbs. stew beef
5 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
1 onion, halved
6x6 inch piece of cheese cloth
4 inch string
Dduk or Simple Rice Cakes

  1. Rub the stew meat with salt and allow to rest until you are ready to cook.
  2. Put the garlic, bay leaf and onion in a piece of cheesecloth and tie with cotton string.
  3. Heat 2 T rice oil in the bottom of a large stock pot.
  4. Cook the meat and bones until brown.
  5. Add a cup of water to the pot and scrape the brownings from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Fill the stock pot with water, add the spice bouquet, and cover.
  7. Bring the water to a boil and allow to simmer on the stove for 4-6 hours, adding water when necessary to prevent the pot from boiling dry.
  8. Allow the soup to cool. Remove the cooled fat and scum from the top of the soup.
  9. Bring the soup back up to a boil and allow to boil for another 4-6 hours, until all of the goodness has come from the bones.
  10. Cool soup, remove fat and spice bouquet, strain soup and return to a boil.
  11. While the soup is coming back up to a boil, sort and chop the tasty pieces of stew meat that are in the strainer.
  12. Add the chopped stew meat to the soup.
  13. Taste the soup and add salt to taste.
  14. Once the soup reaches a gently rolling boil, place enough dduk in the soup for each guest to have around 10 pieces.
  15. Allow the dduk to cook until it is soft then serve the soup and dduk immediately.
  16. Do not allow dduk to sit in the broth; the dduk will swell then fall apart, becoming inedible.

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