Vegan Dduk Guk – Korean Rice Cake Soup (vegan, gluten free, oil free)
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Classic Vegan Korean Rice Cake Soup!
Growing up, Korean Rice Cake Soup, or Dduk Guk (떡국) was a classic comfort dish I ate frequently so I had to take a stab at making a Vegan Dduk Guk. Traditionally, the recipe is actually quite simple. It is made with a light broth of either anchovy or beef with chewy Korean rice cake, sliced egg and seaweed to top. It’s commonly enjoyed to celebrate the Korean New Year, but it’s also one of those dishes that my halmoni (Korean grandma) would whip up for me whenever I was in need of a simple, satisfying dish.
Making it vegan is actually quite simple! The only challenge is veganizing the broth, and to nail that, it’s important to create that umami, rich flavour. I substituted using sea vegetables and staple broth veggies like onions, garlic and green onion. These are also some of the most used ingredients in Korean cooking.
Now you know what I always say, when you’re re-creating a classic dish, you want to re-create the experience as a whole. That means garnishing it as you would the original and seasoning it the same way. Presentation isn’t that important, but most of us DO eat with our eyes first and I have to tell you, I think my vegan version looks pretty authentic!
Dduk guk recipes may vary slightly from Korean household to household, but today’s recipe was inspired by my halmoni’s traditional method. Feel free to tweak as you’d like, and let’s get into it! This Vegan Korean Rice Cake Soup recipe is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and oil free.
What’s in this Vegan Korean Rice Cake Soup?
- Gluten free soy sauce
- Korean rice cakes
- Seaweed, vegan “egg” and seasonings to garnish
Secrets to success
The most important element in this dish is the broth. Make sure you taste as you go, and adjust as you see fit. You can opt to use veggie broth to boost flavour, or stick to a pure homemade broth using the veggies listed below.
I recommend using sliced Korean rice cake, as this shape is predominantly used to make dduk guk. It will hold it’s shape even when prepared in soup, and cooks through nicely because it’s quite thin. How much you use is really up to you! Think of it like the “noodle” in your soup. You can find it online, or at your local Asian grocery store.
For best texture, it’s important to enjoy this dish right after preparing. You can store the broth if you have leftovers and add fresh rice cake when you’re ready to enjoy again.
If you like this recipe, try these Asian dishes next!
- Miso Mushroom Ramen
- Gluten Free Shoyu Ramen
- Homemade Gluten Free Gochujang
- Healthy Vegan Quinoa Bibimbap
- Zenzai (Japanese Sweet Red Bean Soup)
- Gluten-Free Zaru Soba
If you try this recipe out, tag me on Instagram @veggiekins so I can see your delicious re-creations and feature them! As always, I love when you share your reviews in the comments below, and if you make any fun substitutions, let me know how it worked out below too.
Vegan Dduk Guk - Korean Rice Cake Soup (vegan, gluten free, oil free)
- 4 cups water or light vegetable broth
- 1/2 large onion
- 4 green onion stems the white base section, save the green tops for garnish
- 5 cloves garlic smashed
- kelp/dashi kombu dried seaweed - I used a piece about the size of 2 square sticky notes
- 1 1/2 cups cubed daikon/asian radish
- 1-2 tsp gluten free soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups dry sliced rice cakes
- vegan "egg" to top I used JUST vegan folded egg
- 1/2 nori sheet sliced thinly
- green onion sliced
- sesame oil to taste
- white pepper to taste
- To prepare broth, bring water, onion, green onion stems, garlic, kombu and radish to a boil. Lower heat to a low simmer and let cook, halfway covered for about 45 minutes. You can also do this using an instant pot to save time.
- Once broth is ready, season with soy sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Add additional water as needed if broth is too salty. Bring broth back to a low boil.
- Rinse rice cakes in cool water, and break pieces up, then add to the boiling broth. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until rice cake is soft. Turn the heat off and serve.
- To garnish, add sliced vegan "egg", nori or seasoned laver and chopped green tops of green onions. You can also add sesame oil to taste and white pepper if desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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