Tteokguk - Vegetarian Rice Cake Soup

Tteokguk - Vegetarian Rice Cake Soup

Spelling Korean words with autocorrect is the best.

I'm giving this a big 'ol vegetarian label because you'll mostly see this is made with beef to enhance the broth. The soup is also usually enjoyed on Korean New Year to bring good luck and to seal the deal of being a year older. But heck, I'm one to break tradition and would like to receive my good luck any time on the calendar. 

Rice cakes ... can be weird if you're not used to it. Just like tofu, it's best eaten seasoned in a dish instead of by itself. In this soup, they soak up all the flavor and turn into fluffy clouds. 

For a dish with magical properties, it's one of the simpler Korean dishes to make once you have all of the ingredients. Of course, this is wonderful with kimchi. The more sour the better I say. And if you happen to win the lotto because of this recipe, I totally have no problem going halfsies with you on the winnings. 


Tteokguk - Vegetarian Rice Cake Soup

About 2 servings

1 pound sliced rice cakes, rinsed
3 egg whites
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, grated
2 green onions
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
5 cups water

1 Tablespoon sesame seed oil
Roasted dried seaweed
1 green onion
3 egg yolks
sesame seeds


  1. Rough chop 2 green onions and put the white bottom half into a soup pot with the grated garlic, dried shiitake mushrooms, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Add water and bring to a low boil for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
  2. Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks. In a medium heat pan, fry the eggs yolks in one flat circle. Prep the rest of the toppings by cutting the roasted seaweed into strips, rough chopping 1 green onion into small pieces and cutting the fried egg yolk into strips.
  3. Discard the mushrooms from the broth and add the rinsed rice cakes and the green top part of the green onions. Stir and continue boiling for about 5 minutes. The rice cakes should be floating. Turn off the heat and immediately add the egg white, stirring only once to get larger egg pieces.
  4. To serve, drizzle the sesame seed oil on top, pile the fried egg yolks, roasted seaweed and green onions in the middle, then sprinkle sesame seeds on top. Serve right away. 

- Perfectly fine to eat the mushrooms that have been boiling in the broth, we just don't in my home as a preference.
- Substitute the mushrooms for a small piece of beef brisket if you don't want this vegetarian.