Dumpling and Rice Cake Soup - ddeok mandu guk떡만두국


 Photo by Tara Fisher

Korean dumplings differ to most other Asian dumplings in that they include cabbage and tofu, as well as meat. Kimchi and glass noodles (dang-myeon) are also common additions. You can of course use store-bought frozen dumplings, but if you have the time, homemade dumplings are really worth making. 
This dish is always eaten on the first day of the Korean lunar New Year, traditionally it is made with a clear beef stock, but we also quite like it as it is done here with chicken stock flavoured with garlic and soy sauce. You could of course use beef stock if you wish.

2 litres homemade or good-quality shop-bought chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp roasted sesame seed oil
¼ tsp salt
24 dumplings, homemade (see page xx, using chicken instead of pork) or shop-bought 
200g fresh or frozen rice cake slices (optional) 
3 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal 
200g fresh or frozen rice cake slices (optional) 
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 piece of nori seaweed, shredded (optional)
Serves 6–8

In a large pan, bring the stock, garlic, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and salt to a boil. If you are using stock that has already been salted, reduce the salt and soy sauce to taste. 
Add the dumplings, rice cakes (if using) and spring onions, bring back to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat a little and simmer for 8–10 minutes until the dumplings begin to float on the surface of the broth and the rice cakes are soft.  Pour in the beaten egg and stir until cooked through. 
Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Spoon about four dumplings into each bowl, cover with the broth and sprinkle over some sesame seeds and shredded crispy seaweed. Serve immediately.