One of the traditions I have in my family is New Year’s soup, also known as tteoguk (or duk guk), which is a Korean rice cake soup. The soup is traditionally served on New Year’s to symbolize good luck for the upcoming year. You’re probably thinking rice cake in a soup doesn’t taste that great but before you make any judgement, take a look at the soup my mom made this year when she came over to my place.
My mom made the soup base from scratch – basically, a beef broth with seasoning. She then added the rice cakes and dumplings (optional). The key is not to undercook the rice cakes or they will be too firm and hard to chew. And you don’t want to overcook it or it will be too mushy and not appetizing – you have to get it just right. On top ,my mom garnished the soul with thinly sliced marinated meat, eggs, and sesame seeds. She usually puts seaweed but I didn’t have it on hand at my place so we had to go without.
This is the main dish but my mom loves to cook and decided to be an overacheiver (and I mean this in the best way possible). She cooked up some homemade galbi (also known as kalbi). She makes her marinade from scratch and adds some secret ingredients that make this one of the best ribs ever. I’m not saying this because I’m her daughter – it’s true! It’s sweet and savory and when the meat cooks, there’s a nice caramelization that happens. Oh! And the sesame oil and garlic aromas of the sauce makes you salivate for the dish. But here, you can only take a look…
Another dish that is a favorite for our New Year’s feast is japchae. This dish is pretty nuritious because it’s basically cellophane noodles, sesame oil (very important!), spinach, carrots, garlic, eggs, meat (optional), onion, and mushrooms… and of course the proper seasoning. In this one, my mom decided to use bell peppers instead of mushrooms.
Ever since I was a kid, I loved the colors in this dish. Yes, the flavors are clean and I don’t feel heavy after eating this but honestly, don’t you think it’s one pretty dish?
My New Year’s day kicked the year off right thanks to my mom’s culinary skills. I hope the rest of the year is full of more delicious bounty!