By: Stephanie Shin
Photo: cHowDivine.com

As a Korean who immigrated to America at the mere age of three, many customs and traditions from my home country were not yet familiarized. However, every Seollal (Lunar New Year’s day), I wake up to the hearty smell of broth as my parents make sure to continuously accustom me with staple Korean traditions.  

떡국 (tteokguk) is a savory Korean dish that dates back hundreds and thousands of years. The main ingredient, tteok, carries two important symbolizations. While the clean white pigment of the rice cakes embodies purity and a fresh new start, the round shape simulates Korea’s traditional currency (yeopjeon) symbolizing good fortune.  

As this dish dates all the way back to the 19th century, it is the perfect combination of remembering the past while looking onward eagerly to the future. Something we all may need to do for the year 2020. Today I share with you my mom’s vegetarian tteokguk recipe in the hopes of moving with you from this tragic past year onto a more promising 2021. 


  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup dried anchovies (can be found in an asian supermarket)
  • 1 ½ cups pre sliced garaetteok (can be found in an asian supermarket)
  • ½ teaspoon pink himalayan salt 
  • ⅛ teaspoon soy sauce 
  • ½ scallion
  • 1 egg
  • Roasted seasoned seaweed 
  • sesame seeds


  1. In a bowl soak your frozen garaetteok for 15 minutes.
  2. Take a large pot, and bring your ¼ cup of dried anchovies to a boil in 4 cups of water.
  3. Once the broth comes to a boil, remove the anchovies from the pot of water. 
  4. Stir into the boiling broth, the salt, soy sauce, and chopped scallion. 
  5. To make the tteokguk garnish, heat a pan over medium low heat and add in some oil. While the pan is heating, separate the egg white and egg yolk into separate bowls. Lightly beat both egg white and yolk with a fork. 
  6. Pour the egg yolk onto the pan, making sure you spread it into an even thin layer and cook each side briefly (make sure it does not brown). Repeat this process for the egg white. 
  7. Roll the thin layer of eggs and cut them into small thin strips.  
  8. Return to your boiling broth and add in your garaetteok. When the garaetteok rises to the top of the pot it is ready (usually takes around 5 minutes). 
  9. In a bowl, pour in your broth and tteok. Garnish the top with the egg, some crushed roasted seaweed, and sesame seeds. Crack in some black pepper and enjoy!