1.323 Ddeok Mandu Guk [includes recipe]

-Cycle 1, Item 323-
24 (Wed) November 2010

Ddeok Mandu Guk [includes recipe]


by me

at home

-Oksu, Seoul-

Ddeok mandu guk (떡만두국) is a Korean soup ("guk").  As the name would suggest, it consists of rice cakes ("ddeok") and dumplings ("mandu") (see generally 1.067 Mandu Jeon-Gol).  Without the rice cakes, it would be "ddeok guk."  Without the dumplings, it would be "mandu guk."  All three varieties are equally common, usually depending on personal taste. The composition of the dumplings and the base of the broth differ from kitchen to kitchen, but I would wager that most are pork dumplings and beef stock.  Additional components may include zucchini/squash and egg ribbons, as here, along with sliced scallions and crushed laver for toppings, as here.

Personally, I don't like any of the three, but the dish is easy to make, quickly, cheaply, for any number of people, thanks entirely to the product Beef Bone Stock by the food company Ottogi (오뚜기), the king of semi-instant foods (see generally company website).  It's a stock made from boiling beef bones, giving it a slightly viscous texture and milky white color.  Packaged in a foil bag similar to an oversized Capri-Sun, the smallest size (350 ml) serves 2.  Foolproof.


Recipe for Quick Ddeok Mandu Guk
(serves 2)

350 ml Ottogi Beef Bone Stock
1 cup water
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce (more will make the broth too dark; in fact, Koreans typically use a special soup soy sauce (guk ganjang (국간장)) that's nearly colorless)
black and/or white pepper to taste
2 cups sliced rice cakes
2 cups mandu of choice (smaller ones work better)
1/2 cup sliced zucchini
1 beaten egg
1 sheet seasoned dried laver
1/4 cup sliced scallion
salt to taste

1.  Combine the stock and water in a medium pot on high.

2.  As it comes to a boil, add the garlic, soy sauce, pepper, rice cakes, mandu, and zucchini.

3.  Lower the heat and simmer for about ten minutes until the rice cakes are soft and the mandu are cooked through.

4.  At the last second, swirl in the egg to make ribbons.

5.  Ladle the soup into 2 large bowls, then top with crush laver and sliced scallions.

6.  Add salt to taste (do this at the very end because the seasoned laver will contribute some saltiness).


  1. You have the "without the dumplings" and "without the rice cakes" sentence backwards. FYI.

  2. do you ever put anchovies in the water as you're boiling and then take it out before adding ingredients? I wonder if there's any purpose to it, my mom told me to do it that way.

  3. @DC: yes absolutely i do that sometimes. it's a quick fish stock, which is essential for many koreans soups/stews. it's makes as much difference as stock in any dish--some people can tell the difference, others no. but for those who can, it's a huge difference.

  4. I guess I should keep doing it then. Sometimes it is a pain, though.

  5. well, yes, making a stock is technically more of a pain than not making a stock. cooking a meal is also more of pain than not cooking it. but so long as you're going to do it, do it right!

  6. you sound like my husband. Sometimes cooking is just 'meh' for me

  7. i'm not saying that every dish of every meal needs to be fancy/complex/perfect. but if i'm going to make something, i'll do it right or won't bother at all. if i'm going to make a sandwich, i'll spread mayo and mustard on the bread. if that's too much of a hassle at the time, then i'll just eat the cold cuts without bread. but i would never just slap 2 pieces of plain bread over meat and call it a "sandwich."

  8. yes, but if I can save time by NOT dragging the anchovies out of the freezer and opening the bag and taking the fishies out and then closing the bag and sticking it back in the freezer then that's what I do. It can still be good! With or without the fishies!

  9. yes it can still be good. i guess i'm saying that i try to respect the fundamentals whenever possible.

  10. My mother-inlaw gave me a fish bouillon that looks like tiny brown beads. She told me to use it when I make Ddeok Mandu Guk & Kimchi Chigae. Just a little bit goes a long way and you don't have to "fish" anything out of the pot. I hope this helps.

  11. interesting.... i've never seen fish bouillon but it makes perfect sense. even better if it's made from anchovies. i'll look into it. thanks!