January 25, 2009



The Lunar New Year , frequently referred to as the Chinese New Year, falls on Monday, January 26 and is a time of big celebration throughout Asia and Asian communities across the globe. According to tradition it's a good time to :

Spend the first day of the New Year honoring your elders
( come on over kids, bring lots of gifts )

Pay all your debts and clean your house before the new year begins
( all of them ?)

Instead of screaming or swearing at your kids give them money
( yeah that'll shut 'em up for a while )

At midnight ( Sunday ) open your window and let the old year out and the new year in
( and if you live in Chicago you can only open it for a second before freezing )

If you were born in the year of the Ox ( multiples of 12 : 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, etc. )
protect yourself all year by wearing red underwear.

And of course it would not be a holiday without special food. Here's what I'll be cooking and eating along with countless other Koreans around the world :

Duk Mandu Kook
( Korean dumpling and rice cake soup )
Serves 6

3 cups rice cakes
( available frozen at Asian food stores )
3/4 lb. flank steak
1 envelope won ton soup base
Mandu ( wonton )
( available frozen )
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 green onions
1 beaten egg
Nori ( seasoned seaweed) cut into 2" strips

Allow rice cakes to defrost in the fridge and then soak in water for 2 hours.

Boil flank steak in 3 quarts of water an hour or until tender. Remove, let cool and slice thinly across grain. Add soy sauce, sup base and salt to the broth. Drain rice cakes and add. Simmer 5 minutes. Add mandu and sliced flank steak. Simmer for 10 minutes.

In a lightly oiled skillet make a thin layer of the beaten egg and cook until done. Slice in long ribbon-like pieces.

Decorate soup with scallions, egg and seaweed. Serve with steamed white rice and kimchee.
I used to make my own mandu which is a lot of work. I've since found that those sold in the Korean supermarkets are very tasty and so I use those instead.

Sae hae bok manee padu say o -

Translation :



  1. Very interesting. I am so going to try to clean the house and let out the old year at midnight tonight. Wish me luck! And Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year! I too am cleaning the house today (mostly because it really needs it :) and I will open the window (briefly) to let the old year out and the new one in!

  3. soup sounds lovely! yes mandu is time consuming ~ some families even roll their own wrapper out.....Korean food can be very time consuming, it does help to have lots of grandmas + great aunties about the house to help ;-) agree about frozen. luv the trader joe's veggie potstickers. you're Korean is soooo much better than mine!

  4. Thanks to all of you and Happy New Year !

  5. Hi Inga,

    I know what you mean about having the aunties and grandmas around. Our house used to be filled with them when my Shiomonee ( mother-in-law ) was alive and lived with us. I helped make the mandu from scratch back then! She also taught me some Korean. And I used to entertain her and her friends by singing Korean songs which they really got a kick out of.


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