instant pot dduk guk (korean rice cake soup)


I have anxieties when it comes to new appliances. I feel like I need to really know how to use it before I can try it on my own.  When we have new appliances, my  husband is the type to just turn it on and go with his intuition.  I read the manual!!  When I got my Instant Pot, I had heard good things about it but I was very apprehensive about this thing that could (in my imagination) blow up on me!!! It took me a few months after I bought it to even take it out of the box and then I watched a few tutorials on youtube on how to use the darn thing so I could have an overview of how the darn thing worked.  One day, I decided to just try it and make ribs of all things and it turned out great! While watching more tutorials and reading more recipes, I got a better sense of my Instant Pot.  And I loved it!  Baked potato? No problem! Jook? Yes!  One pot pasta that saved my butt during soccer season? Absolutely!  It was definitely worth the purchase.

I stayed up a little late on New Year’s Eve and had some champagne so I set my alarm and decided to try Instant Pot to make the beef soup part of the traditional Korean rice cake soup (dduk guk) that is often served on New Year’s Day.  The plan was to then move it and finish the final steps on the stovetop, adding the rice cakes and potstickers (mandoo).  Well, I also happened to win tickets to my first NFL game (Go Niners!) so I was under some time constraints.  The meat came out so well, that I decided to just throw the still semi-hard rice cakes into the instant pot and hasten the results.  I could not find a single recipe online for this and had no guidance – just a gut feeling. So I threw them in, added some time on the pot and gathered everyone for the bowing ceremony.  After we bowed, I had my husband cook up the mandoo that we were adding to the soup and I started the quick release.  OH NO.  Sputtering white liquid everywhere!  Like the mishaps on the facebook Instant Pot group!  I panicked and started imagining disintegrated rice cake soup inside.  I didn’t know what to do but keep cleaning up the volcanic -like liquid.  Did I mention my MOTHER IN LAW is visiting ??? And she’s a tough critic?? OMG, no pressure.  Well, I fearfully announced that I may have ruined our New Year’s meal and waited for the pressure to go down. Apprehensively, I finally opened the pot to find the rice cake floating on the top- not a mushy mess ! Yay!!  I served it up and everyone said it was the best dduk mandoo guk they have ever had.  WHOA and WHEW!

This may not seem like a very big deal to people but to recipe-following me, it was nothing short of a miracle. I’m proud of myself for taking a risk and trying it out and it worked out for me! So I’m going to share it with you.  It was nice to drink coffee and read a book while the Instant Pot did the majority of the work for me – the beef broth!  Thank you for all the people who have read my little blog last year.  It has been a fun journey for me and I hope to continue sharing my recipes with you in 2017!



Serves 6-8


1 lb. Beef (I used about a pound of chuck roast but any beef roast or stew meat or london broil is ok – even short ribs!)

1 package of korean rice cakes (often vacuum sealed packages)

4 Green onion/scallions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

Sesame seeds

Drizzle of sesame oil

Salt and pepper

For garnish, 2 eggs and unroasted seaweed sheet

Note: My family enjoys this soup with mandoo and in a pinch, my husband picked up pork potstickers from Trader Joe’s and it was great! We used 2 packages for 6 people.


  • Soak rice cakes in cold water for 30 minutes..
  • Put beef in Instant pot and fill with water to fill line.  Close lid and close the vent to “sealing”.  Set on manual for 32 minutes.
  • While this is cooking, you can make the garnish.  Cut the seaweed into thin strips and cook the eggs evenly and thinly in a fying pan. Slice it into thin strips and set it aside. Some folks use just egg yolk – I’m lazy and just cook the whole egg.
  • Quick release once the time has ended.
  • Take out beef. Shred and mix it with green onion, garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil, salt and pepper.
  • Reserve half of the seasoned beef for garnishing the soup at the end and put the other half back into the broth. (Note: I took out some of the broth at this point so I could add rice cakes and still be under the fill line).
  • Drain the rice cakes and add to the Instant Pot.
  • Let the rice cakes soften in the hot soup for a few minutes.

NOTE: If you’re making the potstickers, I recommend boiling them separately on the stove and adding them to the soup once it’s done. I have no suggestions on how to incorporate this into the Instant Pot!

  • Season to taste with salt. Start with a tablespoon and keep tasting!
  • To serve, ladle a portion of the rice cake soup in a bowl, add potstickers and top with reserved seasoned beef, egg strips and seaweed strips.

This is my first attempt at writing a recipe so please bear with me and let me know if anything is unclear or needs clarification!  I hope yours turns out like mine did.  My husband was VERY wary of having the rice cakes cook so long but it turned out just fine for us.  Remember to take out liquid before adding rice cakes!!!






korean beef patties (동그랑땡)

IMG_2091[1]Korean food is my comfort food. It’s also my family’s comfort food but I rarely cook it at home.  When I first started cooking, I learned by watching Rachael Ray and Food Network 24-7.  At the time, there were not many resources in English for Korean food.  The ingredients were unfamiliar to me and I couldn’t even translate some of the ingredients!  Since then, a wealth of Korean cooking resources have emerged and I’ve utilized many of the recipes.  But it’s still not what comes easiest to me.  Since I rarely cook it, I also find it challenging because I feel like i have to prepare so many components when it come time to actually make it.  It’s mentally exhausting.  But on some days, I know my family would really love to sit down to some Korean food so I put aside my own issues and cook it.

When I lived in LA and my oldest was just a baby, I met a group of Korean-American moms.  We came together, shared meals, ideas, recipes and had lots of playdates.  Making friends as an adult can be challenging but I felt really blessed and lucky to find community and support with these women.  One woman, in particular, became a very good friend to me.  Our sons were close in age and got along well.  We lived fairly close to each other and we shared a love of cooking.  She was funny, beautiful, supportive and so dedicated to her family, especially her son.  There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for him.  And… she was an amazing cook.  Though her time on this earth was cut brutally and unfairly short, I had the honor of knowing her and she made such an impact on me in the short time we had together.  She had this way of encouraging me to try new recipes by saying “It’s so easy – you can TOTALLY do it.  You want me to show you? Want to come over and I’ll walk you through it??” I have a few recipes (which I know I’ll share here) that are staples in my kitchen because they are so delicious and because I got them from her.

This Korean beef patty recipe is one of them.  She had a blog of Korean cooking and was working on a cookbook as well.  I miss her presence in my life but think of her often, especially when I make dishes from her kitchen.  Bo, I know you are smiling down as I write these words… I think of how you must have typed your posts just as I’m doing now and it makes me smile, thinking we share something years after your passing…

Try these, they’re the closest rendition to my own grandmother’s version that I’ve ever had.

Dong Geun-ran Ddengs – Beef Cakes – (동그랑땡)

Recipe and photos c/o Korean Cuisine

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • ½ cup chopped squash
  • ½ cup chopped chives
  • 3 eggs
  • Korean pancake mix (or just plain old flour)
  • 1 TB minced garlic, 1 TB sesame oil, 1 TB gook ganjang, ¾ TB salt, ¼ TB pepper, ¼ TB ginger powder

First get your beef and vegetables ready. Don’t feel limited to using these EXACT vegetables…use what you have! I’ve used mushrooms, green onions, and a lot of other stuff too before and it tastes fine.

I used a mandolin to shred my vegetables, then I just took a knife to roughly cut it up into small bits. It makes the job a lot easier if you have a mandolin on hand.
After the vegetables are chopped and ready season it with 1 TB minced garlic, 1 TB sesame oil, 1 TB gook ganjang, ¾ TB salt, ¼ TB pepper, ¼ TB ginger powder and mix it up well using your hands.

Add about 1 pound of beef and mix it well again using your hands.

Get some flour or Korean pancake mix ready in a large bowl and scoop up 1 TB of the meat mixture at a time and using your hands try to form them into small, flat little patties.

Coat them thoroughly in the pancake mix and set aside. I actually had to do this in two separate batches because I ended up with a lot of beef cakes. And YES, this gets very messy…which is why I only make these a few times a year.

In another bowl, crack 3 whole eggs and mix it up really well. Dip each piece of coated beef cake into the egg mixture and then fry it on a frying pan. I found that using a spoon makes transferring the beef cakes a lot easier without breaking them apart.

Make sure you use enough oil to cover the whole pan and then some. Let the beef cake fry on each side for at least 2 minutes. Each time you do another batch, clean off the frying pan with a wet paper towel and start off with fresh oil.