Meaty yet light, this spin on the traditional Korean New Year’s dish, rice cake and dumpling soup (“tteokgook”), is a delicious and hearty way to bring in the year of the sheep.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Mountain States Rosen. Thank you for supporting brands that align with my mission and values and help make this blog possible. While I was compensated for my time, all opinions are 100% my own.
Happy early Lunar New Year!! The Year of the Sheep is finally upon us.
This upcoming Thursday is one of the most celebrated and significant days in a number of Asian countries. It’s a time for families to gather together and celebrate with delicious food and various traditions passed down through the generations. In Korea, we refer to this day as “Seolnal.” The day typically begins with the children bowing to their elders while wishing them a happy new year. More often than not, this respectful act is rewarded with new year’s money – a symbol of prosperity for the new year. The rest of the day is filled with traditional folk games, including my dad’s personal favorite “yunnori.”
// my dad and 3 year old nephew, Noah (and his sidekick chihuahua, Mochi)
This time of year always makes me wish that I was in living Korea as my parents and all of my extended family are there. Three, no…four generations under one roof is what this day brings for so many families. And of course, no Seolnal celebration is complete without a steaming bowl of tteokguk (rice cake soup). Legend has it that consuming a bowl of the soup provides luck in the upcoming year and allows a person to become a year older.
Traditionally the broth is made with beef or pheasant, but can easily be made with chicken or even seafood. Recognizing this versatility, the Hungryman and I thought it might be a fun play, in honor of the Year of the Sheep, to make this classic Korean dish using lamb. And to make things even better, the kind folks at Mountain States Rosen provided us with beautiful, fresh USDA All-Natural lamb meat to guarantee a most delicious outcome. We couldn’t help but appreciate the commitment of the Cedar Springs and Shepherd’s Pride lamb ranchers to raising their animals the right way. From diet to exercise, care is exhibited to ensure nothing short of the highest quality is produced.
Honestly, lamb isn’t commonly used in Korean cooking so we had to do a little research before getting started on the recipe. According to traditional Chinese medicine, lamb meat is an excellent choice for boosting inner warmth, and as such can be further enhanced when paired with warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and garlic. It is a great source of protein and rich in zinc, vitamin B12 and niacin. Furthermore, it has 5 times the omega-3 as compared to beef.
Since New Year’s Day can be quite hectic, I recommend you make the dumplings and the broth in advance if you can (Note: freeze the dumplings). That way, all you have to do is reheat and assemble.
As for the broth, I take no credit: Enter the Hungryman ;). My husband made the broth which, of course, you can enjoy throughout the year. Once the broth is prepared, simply add back the lamb and the daikon, season to taste with salt and pepper, throw in some green onions, and just like that, you’ve got yourself a soul-warming bowl of “gom tang,” another classic Korean dish, except it’s made with tender, flavorful American lamb instead of beef. Serve alongside a bowl of rice and of course, kimchi! Whichever variation you choose, I hope you enjoy this recipe! Share your favorite Lunar New Year ideas at #yearofUSlamb.
And here’s some exciting news for you. The Mountain States Rosen and The American Lamb Board are giving away a year’s supply of American lamb to one lucky winner!
The givewaway is open until February 27. Click HERE to enter the giveaway. May the sheep be your lucky charm ;).
- 1 1/2 -2 pounds lamb shoulder chop bone in (lamb shank or leg are good alternatives)
- 1 small Korean radish or daikon, sliced into 3 or 4 large pieces
- 1 medium-sized onion halved
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 12 cups water
- Juice of 1/2 lemon meyer preferred
- At least 60 wonton wrappers
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts
- 1 pack firm tofu
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Korean Lamb Dumpling and Rice Cake Soup
- 1 pound sliced rice cakes
- 6 cups lamb broth
- 2 eggs
- 1 sheet of toasted seaweed paper cut into thin strips
- Green onions sliced
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse lamb in cold water. Once clean, put lamb into a bowl and soak for 20 minutes in cold water.
- Discard the soaking water and blanch lamb in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Remove and rinse lamb pieces and remove any excess fat from pot.
- Place the lamb back into the pot and add the radish pieces, onion, garlic cloves, and water (12 cups)
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 1 hour with the lid closed. Then lower to medium heat and boil for another hour again with the lid closed. During the second hour, add lemon juice.
- Remove pot from heat. Discard onion and garlic, and store meat and radish in a container to be enjoyed later.
- Refrigerate broth overnight. Using a spoon or wire strainer, skim off any fat and bits.
- Prepare an ice bath. Wash the mung bean sprouts and boil them in hot water for about 5 minutes. Remove and transfer to the ice bath.
- Using a kitchen towel, squeeze all the water out of the sprouts and chop coarsely. Be sure to squeeze out as much water as possible as this helps maintain a compact filling.
- Similarly, squeeze all the water out from the tofu block and crumble into small pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients together. Mix well.
- Place a wonton wrapper in the palm of your hand. Brush the edges with water. Place a spoonful of filling in the middle. Be sure not to overstuff.
- Fold wonton in half over the filling and press the edges together firmly to seal.
- Repeat to make the rest of the dumplings.
- Pour 2 tablespoons of canola oil into a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat. Cook about 8 dumplings at a time (do not overcrowd the pan), approximately 3 minutes on each side or until browned.
- Pour about 3 tablespoons of water into the skillet and cover with a lid immediately as oil will spatter. This method allows for crispy skin and a steamed filling.
- Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Cook completely before freezing. Place dumplings in a single layer in a freezer-safe plastic bag and store flat.
Korean Lamb Dumpling and Rice Cake Soup
- Soak rice cakes in cold water for about 30 minutes and drain. This will reduce the cooking time and prevent the broth from becoming too starchy.
- Beat eggs and season with salt and pepper. Heat a lightly oiled nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pour egg into pan, tilting the skillet and spreading with a spoon (similar to crepe-making). Turn to cook each side. Remove from pan and slice into thin strips.
- Bring lamb broth to a boil. Add rice cakes and dumplings, stirring gently to prevent them from sticking to one another and to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the rice cakes soften and they, as well as the dumplings, float to the top (about 5-8 minutes).
- Ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with egg, seaweed strips, and green onions.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.