So remember how I said I hoped to be in the kitchen more often this year?  I’m already off to a good start!

I’ve been bugging my mom for a while now to teach me how to make more Korean dishes.  I figure it’s about time.  I was obviously not one of those children who followed their parents around the kitchen and learned how to cook all kinds of things early on (although I really wish I was).  And one of my favorite Korean dishes to eat is the New Year’s soup, or duk guk (which is essentially “mochi soup”-yum!).

She finally agreed to teach me!  Although we didn’t eat it on New Year’s since she worked, we ate it yesterday.  Better late than never.  So I got out my bright pink notebook with my purple pen and headed out prepared to take an onslaught of notes while cooking.  Except, she had me put away my pretty notebook and simply said, “you’ll remember.”  Um hello, does she not know how neurotic I am?  But I had no choice as she quickly handed me a handful of green onion to slice and a few other things to prep while we waited for the water to boil.  As we waited, my mom began to tell me how she remembered her mom making the soup all those years ago.  It’s been a while since my mom got to celebrate New Years with her parents since they live in Korea.  I felt really bad for her because I don’t realize often enough how much she misses them.  What I fail to remember is that even though she is my parent, she has parents of her own.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, I digress.  My point at the end of all that was I got the feeling she felt badly about not being able to make the soup as fancy as her mom does.  My grandma apparently makes the broth ahead of time instead of using a powder like we did, and she makes everything else like the mochi and mandoo instead of using frozen ones like we did.  All of that didn’t bother me at all.  I was just happy to be learning from my mom.

The soup is much easier to make than I thought.  I’m going to attempt to tell you how now, but since I didn’t take notes it could be a disaster.

The ingredients:  (2 tablespoons) anchovy powder, (about 1/3 of a bunch) green onions, (1/2 a package) duk (mochi), (1/4-1/2 package) mandoo, (5 big eggs) egg, (5 cloves) garlic, and (a couple thinly sliced) beef slices.  Here’s the thing.  I don’t know where the anchovy powder or beef slices came from.  They just materialized out of my fridge!  I’m assuming they came from the Korean supermarket we have here, but my mom said the beef is just steak meat.  And the measurements were kinda eye-balled so what I put is based on a serving size of 4 gigantic bowls.

Start by bowling a pot of water with 2 tablespoons of anchovy powder.  The powder makes for a fishy broth base.  Then throw in the 5 smashed garlic cloves, black pepper, and beef slices.  The beef slices are to add to the flavor of the broth as well as presentation later.  While you wait for it to boil, soak the mochi in some water, chop up the green onion to look like the picture (kind of diagonal 1″ slices), and throw it in with the scrambled eggs.  When the water boils, drop in the mandoo and mochi.  If your mandoo was frozen, put it in earlier than the mochi because the mochi cooks real fast.  When both the mandoo and mochi have risen, it means they are done cooking.  You can then drizzle in the egg mixture.  According to my mom, you need to do this slowly and swirl the egg into the soup or it’ll look bad haha.  Lastly, sprinkle some black pepper and stir!

It should look like this in the end!  Unfortunately, I have to work on my presentation, but when my mom does it, it turns out great!

I’m hoping to make it next year myself.  It really is a delicious and simple soup.  Oh and if you’re wondering why this is the traditional soup to eat in Korea (because I had no idea as well until my sister told me), it’s apparently because the mochi is cut from a long strip that symbolizes long life.  So essentially, you eat this soup on New Years day for good luck and for long life.

I wish this upon everyone even though you may or may not have eaten this soup.  Also, here’s to the continuing of traditions!  I love stuff like that.

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