Saturday, March 10, 2007

New Year's Food, Part 1: dduk mandoo gook

It was Lunar New Year a couple of weekends ago. I cooked up some food, and finally, I'm getting off my butt to blog about it. We served a bunch of stuff, but the two things I made were dduk mandoo gook (rice cake and dumpling soup) and jap chae (sweet potato noodle with julienned vegetables).

Dduk mandoo gook is a really, really easy dish. The ingredients consist of the following:
  • Rice cake. Like 10-15 slices per person. I could probably eat like 20, but let's show a little restraint here.
  • Thinly sliced stew beef or sliced rib eye cut into pieces about 1 inch squares/pieces. I think about an ounce or so per person is fine.
  • Soy sauce. 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per person.
  • Garlic. 1 clove per person.
  • Dumplings. 2-4 per person. I actually prefer this dish without any dumplings (in which case it would be called "dduk gook" instead, as "mandoo" means dumpling) but I think Seppo prefers it with them.
  • Egg. Optional, but about 1 egg per two people work out pretty well.
  • Toasted (unseasoned) seaweed. Optional, but about 1/4 to 1/2 sheet per person works out ok. I like lots, so I end up putting half in as I serve and the rest halfway through my meal. :D
  • Scallion. I would guess something like a tablespoon per person, according to your taste.
I sadly only took three pictures of this dish.

Rice cake (dduk/ddeok) soaking in water

Start by soaking the rice cake in water, so as to rinse off any residual rice flour. Or if it was frozen, this will let it defrost without developing nasty cracks in it, which is what will happen if you put it in hot water directly from the freezer.

While the rice cake is soaking, mince your garlic and mix with the soy sauce and meat in some sort of bowl-like bowly bowl. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

While the meat is sitting in the marinade, you might as well beat the egg(s) and make egg "crepes". Don't add any water, just salt it a little.

Egg sheet #1

I was able to make three sheets out of two eggs in a 10 inch non-stick skillet, so that's the level of thinness you are looking for. Start with a medium-low pan and put a tiny bit of cooking oil on it, spreading it around with a paper towel. Pour a small amount of the beaten egg into the pan and quickly pick up the pan and swirl it around. Swirl! Swirl like your life depends upon it! Lower the pan back onto the stovetop and lower the heat even more.

You'll see the egg start to look less wet. Flip the sheet then, and take it out of the pan in about 10 seconds.

Let the egg sheets cool.

While the eggs sheets are cooling, sautee the meat. It doesn't have to fully cook, because it's thin and will cook in the soup later anyway.

Add water. Hmm, how much water? Maybe two cups per person? I have no idea. It's one of those things. Sorry.

Let it start to come to a simmer. While it's coming to a simmer, slice up the egg, seaweed, and scallion. I went all fancy-pants over making scallion curl up in an ice bath this time. Usually, I just make 2 inch slices on the diagonal. I also don't usually bother cutting up the seaweed, but crumple it up into the soup. Ok, I'll admit that I also don't make the egg sheets. I usually stir it in at the last minute, much like you might with egg drop soup.

Toppings for dduck gook

Are you all ready? When the soup base comes to a simmer, drop in the rice cake.

The rice cake will cook very, very quickly, so it's pretty much done as it gets to be tender and floats to the surface, much like fresh ravioli might. This will be within a matter of single-digit minutes, so be ready! When the first rice cakes even remotely look halfway tender, throw in the frozen dumplings (make sure you bought the fully-cooked, flash-frozen kind).

Add soy sauce or beef broth to season a bit.

When things float, serve out into individual bowls.

Top with toppings and eat while hot.


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