Happy New Years!! That's right, the lunar new year is a much bigger holiday in Korea than the New Year of the solar calendar. This year, the lunar new year is this weekend. It's a three day holiday from Saturday to Monday (Feb 13 ~ 15 this year). Today is the main day of the holiday, and coincidentally is Valentine's Day also. Of course, Valentine's Day here is quite different than in the USA! It's not quite so romantic. Men don't have to buy anything or make any special plans. This day is just for women to give a gift to her boyfriend/husband/special guy.
I think this must be the most important holiday in Korea. It's called 설날 (Seul-nal). This and Korean Thanksgiving, 추석 (Chu-seok) are both given three days. I guess its hard to imagine because we don't have any 3 day holidays in the USA. The first day is spent preparing the food. The second day you are with family and extended family eating a big meal and just spending time together. I guess the third day is flexible... some people might spend it with family and some people just go about life as usual.
And the special dish that Koreans eat on New Years is 떡국 (Ddeok-gook). 떡 (Ddeok) is the korean word for rice cakes. 국 (gook) means "soup". And thats what it is, a soup made with rice cakes (and other things). This seemed like the perfect time for me to try my hand at cooking Korean food, as this dish is relatively simple and an important dish. So yesterday I bought the ingredients that i didn't have at home and here you can see my photo of all the ingredients that I prepared before I started cooking !!
This photo has pretty much everything I'd be using, except the dumplings which were still in the freezer! I could probably make this in the states too, if I could find the rice cakes at an asian market.
Pretty much everything has made its way into the pot at the point and the rice cakes and dumplings are cooking nicely in the water and broth!
This is the finished product !! Garnished with some lightly cooked egg yolk and crumbled seaweed!