The Lunar New Year, one of the nation’s most celebrated holidays, is just around the corner. As this holiday is typically celebrated with family members, from Jan. 22 to 24 of this year many Koreans will be travelling to their relatives where they will partake in traditions like the wearing of hanbok (a vibrantly colored traditional Korean gown), watching the sunrise, and enjoying a bowl of piping hot tteokguk. Tteokguk is a traditional Korean rice cake soup that, when eaten, symbolizes another year of life. In other words, Koreans celebrate their birthdays on the Lunar New Year, and once they finish their tteokguk, they are officially a year older. You can celebrate your Korean birthday with tteokguk, too.
Ingredients (serves 4) sliced rice cake (6 cups) water (10 cups or more) eggs (2) oil for the pan beef (1/4 cup, chopped) soy sauce (1/4 cup) tofu (1/2 block, medium firm, chopped) garlic (2 tbsp, minced) dry seaweed/laver (1 sheet, shredded) salt (dash)
Step 1: If you’re using the air-tight packaged rice cake, soak the rice cake in water for 30 minutes.
Step 2: Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
Step 3: Separately fry the egg whites and yolks into a thin layer.
Step 4: Slice the cooked egg whites and egg yolks.
Step 5: Slice the tofu into ¼’’ thick fillets and pan fry with a dash of salt until golden brown.
Step 6: Slice the cooked tofu fillets into cubes.
Step 7: Chop the meat into small pieces. This process is easier when the meat is slightly frozen.
Step 8: Boil the soy sauce, minced garlic, and beef over a low to medium heat for approximately 15 minutes.
Step 9: Add the tofu cubes from step 6 to the soy sauce, garlic, and beef mix. Boil over a low to medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
Step 10: Spray the dry seaweed with a little oil and salt. Toast quickly over medium heat. You may skip this step by purchasing pre-oiled and salted dry seaweed.
Step 11: Shred the seaweed for garnish.
Step 12: Boil the water in a pot and add the rice cake. Once the rice cake rises to the surface, it is done.
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