This soup is one of my go-to Korean dishes that the whole family loves. If you’re gluten-free, look for the rice cakes/ovalettes that are made without wheat. They look like this and usually come vacuum-packaged in the refrigerated section of your Korean or Asian store. There are many ways to make the soup; this is my favorite.
To make it, you’ll need
1 pound of sirloin or tenderloin or rib-eye meat, sliced thinly across the grain, and then into bite-sized strips
It’s easiest to slice meat in semi-frozen state; you can also purchase pre-sliced bulgogi beef at your Korean store, they usually come in 2-pound packages, at least where I live, so if not making straight up bulgogi I divide the package into 1-pound packages to incorporate into stir-fries or soups.
Marinate the beef in a bowl, at least 30 minutes or up to several hours in the fridge, with:
4 large cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and mashed to a paste with a pinch of sea salt
1 inch piece gingerroot, peeled and minced
2 scallions, chopped, plus additional if using for topping
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or use wheat-free tamari
if you’re gluten-free)
2 tablespoons sugar (regular granulated or brown will work here)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
several grinds freshly ground black pepper
To make the soup:
1 1.5-lb. package rice cake ovalettes
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
cooking spray or additional oil for making omelettes and stir-frying beef
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 sheets toasted gim or nori
Fish sauce and/or soy sauce/tamari, to taste
2 scallions, sliced thinly
Storebought or homemade kimchi for serving
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
for serving, to taste
In a large bowl, soak the rice cakes in tap water for 30 minutes.
While the rice cakes are soaking, heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. When hot but not smoking, add marinated beef and stir fry a few minutes over high heat until it has turned color. With a slotted spoon, remove half the beef into a bowl. Add 7 cups water into the saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling lower heat to a simmer, 20 minutes or so.
While broth is cooking, heat skillet and coat bottom with cooking spray or oil. When hot, pour in enough of the beaten egg to cover bottom of pan. Cook briefly, just until set, and remove to a cutting board. Repeat with the remaining egg, coating bottom of skillet with spray or oil each time, until all the egg is gone. Julienne and set aside.
Cut nori with scissors into thin strips, or crush into pieces with your hands.
Add scallions to the broth. Taste for seasoning and adjust using fish sauce and/or soy sauce. Add the soaked rice cakes and cook 7-8 minutes or just until tender. Do not overcook.
While rice cakes are cooking, heat skillet and coat with a bit of oil. Over high heat, return the beef that was set aside and stir-fry a few minutes or just until heated through.
Ladle broth and rice cakes into bowls, top with beef, julienned egg, and gim/nori strips. Sprinkle with (optional) chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with shichimi togarashi and kimchi on the side.