Waking up today to the first day of 2016 started like any other day. The kids snuggled up with me this morning so we can catch some more zzz’s. My mom trying to break into our house to feed us our traditional Korean New Year’s soup (tteok mandu guk). I get up to let my mom in and rally the kids to get up to start the new year.
This soup is something I wait 365 days to eat. I know I can have it any time of the year. Many Korean restaurants serve it, but something about having it for the first time all year on New Years Day makes it extra special. It connects me to my familial roots, brings an awareness that this is the first day of the new year, and to be hopeful for what will come in the future.
It starts with a beef bone broth that was cooked several days ago. My mother used 3 lbs of oxtail but you can also use beef shank, beef bone-in short rib, knucklebones, and/or neck bones to make a super flavorful broth. Toss your beef bones in olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 400 degree oven for 30-35 mins. Place your beef bones in a large stock pot and add enough water to cover the bones with a few inches of water. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar (this extracts the nutrients out of the bones) and bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to the lowest setting, cover and simmer for at least 12 hours. Occasionally check on your broth. Skim off any foam that floats to the surface and add additional water as needed to keep the bones covered as the liquids will reduce down. If you are using the broth at a later time like us, wait for it to cool and then refrigerate.
We put our refrigerated beef bone broth in a large stockpot and began to boil. Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and cook the beef bulgogi. Beef bulgogi is thinly sliced flank stank marinated in soy sauce, sugar, minced garlic, sesame oil, kosher salt and black pepper.
After the bulgogi is cooked your beef bone broth should be boiling. Skim off any oily film and add your rice cakes.
Turn the soup down to medium heat and stir the rice cakes in the broth. Add all purpose beef seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Then add your mandu (Korean dumpling) to the soup.
This is my dear mother “Sunny”. Not only an amazing woman but also an amazing cook. This is the mandu we used but you can use any brand or type of mandu that you prefer. Homemade mandu is also delicious and will bring this soup to the next level.
Once the mandu is cooked through which takes about 3 minutes, ladle the soup into a big bowl and make sure you scoop a lot of mandu and rice cakes. Top with the bulgogi and pan fried egg. We separated the egg whites and yolks and sliced them in long strips. Top with your favorite seaweed snack and eat with kimchi.
This soup will give the clarity that is needed to start the adventure of 2016. The clear bone broth is suppose to represent a fresh start in the new year and the rice cake represents money and prosperity. After having my fill of the soup, I feel like my soul is full. I take a deep breath in and am ready to take on 2016, I take another whiff and soon I am brought back to reality that Violet needs a diaper change. Conquering the world will have to wait…