Spicy beef and vegetable soup

Yukgaejang 육개장

I’m re-introducing the delicious and nutritious yukgaejang to you today: spicy beef and vegetable soup. This soup is smoky, spicy, and rich, with healthy hunks of sliced beef and plenty of vegetables that are soft, but not mushy—they’re full of earthy mountain flavor from gosari (fernbrake). Served with rice, it’s a satisfying, warming meal.

I made a video for this recipe years ago. It was on my first low-def camera, and eventually the music was removed in a copyright claim. Even though the video was rough, the recipe was very good and many people used it to make delicious yukgaejang. I thought the time was right to remake the video in HD and rewrite the recipe.

When Koreans make yukagejang, they always make it in large batches to make it worth the effort. Extra yukagaejang is full of good stuff and never goes to waste: you can bring some to your friend’s house, or a close neighbor may get a knock at the door and find you there with some yukgaejang to share!

It’s also common for Korean moms to make a big pot of yukagaejang to keep their family sustained while goes away for an extended time. That way she can visit her own mom and not worry about her children and husband starving at home. It can keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, or up to 1 week if you reheat it every other day. One of my readers told me he divides it into portions and then freezes them, and then takes out a portion whenever he wants some for a meal. Good tip!

Homemade yukgaejang is always better than yukgaejang at a restaurant, because you can take care to add a lot of the best ingredients, perfectly prepared. Some restaurants might not include gosari, either. It’s an essential ingredient!

Enjoy my updated yukgaejang recipe and let me know how yours turns out!

Korean spicy beef and vegetable soup (Yukgaejang:(육개장)yukgaejang (Korean spicy beef and vegetable soup: 육개장)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound beef brisket, cut into several pieces along the grain 3 inch long, soaked in cold water for 10 to 20 minutes, washed, and drained
  • 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) mung bean sprouts (you can grow your own!), washed and strained
  • 3-4 large green onions (dae-pa) or 14-16 green onions, cut into 2½ inch long pieces
  • 6 ounces of soaked (or fresh) gosari (about 2 cups), cut into 2½ inch long pieces
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced

Sauce

On the side

  • Extra salt

Directions

Start cooking the beef, mushrooms, and onion:

  1. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts (12 cups) of water to a boil. Add the beef along with the dried shiitake mushrooms and the onion.yukgaejang making (육개장 만들기)
  2. Cook for 1 hour over medium high heat.

While it boils, make the seasoning sauce and prepare the vegetables:

  1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix it well.
    yukgaejang-sauce
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
  3. Put the mung bean sprouts, green onions, gosari, and garlic in a large bowl.Yukgaejang (육개장)

Make the soup:

  1. 1 hour later, check the beef. Take a sample chunk and split it with your fingers or fork. If it splits nicely, it’s done. If it’s a little tough to split, let it cook for 10 more minutes. As stock boils off, you want to maintain about 10 cups’ worth, so add some water.
  2. When it’s done, remove the beef, onion, and mushrooms with a slotted strainer.
  3. Let the beef and mushrooms cool down and discard the cooked onion.
  4. Mix the vegetables with the seasoning sauce by hand until well incorporated. Add to the boiling stock.Yukgaejang (육개장)
  5. Cover and cook 20 minutes over medium high heat until the vegetables are cooked through and tender, but not mushy.
  6. Slice the mushrooms and pull the beef apart into strips. Add to the boiling soup and cook another 10 minutes.
    yukgaejang-mushroomsyukgaejang-beef

Serve:

  1. Remove from the heat, ladle and serve. Prepare a small bowl of salt on the table, for anyone who wants to add some. Serve with rice and side dishes. Before eating, people can add a pinch of salt to their taste if they like.
    Korean spicy beef and vegetable soup (Yukgaejang:(육개장)

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134 Comments:

  1. medusagurlyeah Adelaide My profile page joined 1/14
    Posted April 22nd, 2016 at 4:28 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi,
    Bought your book the other day but still prefer your videos!
    What is your opinion of using mung bean sprouts instead of soy bean sprouts?

  2. RosalinaS Indonesia My profile page joined 2/16
    Posted April 11th, 2016 at 2:11 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Thank you again for being such a great inspiration. You make cooking process look easy..

    I am about to make yukgaejang as it’s been my favorite soup since I was in college. I definitely prefer this than kimchi jiggae. But if my friend gave me both, I would love to clean them up too :p

    My question is, is it OK to add vegetable that’s been seasoned after we reboild the chopped mushroom and beef? Will it change the taste or something? Because I wanna eat kind of crunchy mung bean sprout and green onion. I just thought that boiling them over 10min will make them mushy..

    Look fwd to your reply as I am preparing the ingredients now. Million thanks Maangchi

  3. Maangchimademefat Texas My profile page joined 4/16
    Posted April 2nd, 2016 at 5:40 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi! This is, by far, my favorite recipe. I’ve been a silent reader and have been watching your videos for over a year now. I just watched your 1 million viewers video and am so happy and excited for you as you deserve that and so much more! I literally cried happy tears as I watched it!! As all others have said before me, I get so happy when I watch you cooking. Your excitement and joy is so evident in your videos. Thank you for bringing me so much joy in my life, especially on days when I feel down. Sending you hugs and kisses. And congratulations on your achievement!!!

    And yes, I entered the t-shirt contest but I also hope you think about selling them too. I’m sure a lot of people will buy them!! I know I will.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 4th, 2016 at 7:47 pm | # |

      Hello, hello! You are one of my 1 million subscribers! Thank you so much for your nice words here! Cheers!

  4. A_Fishstick My profile page joined 5/15
    Posted March 20th, 2016 at 1:46 pm | # |

    Hello, Maangchi! In your old video for this recipe you mentioned an ingredient “toran” or taro stem. My local H-Mart sells dehydrated taro stems. Would it still be good to use them in this recipe? Would I need to soak them first?

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted March 22nd, 2016 at 8:30 pm | # |

      Dehydrated taro stems are difficult to handle. You will have to boil and soak for a long time, changing water several times.
      I did once at home and made toran-julgi-bokkeum (taro stem side dish). The texture was soft and crispy and it was flavorful but I realized the poison in the stems was not totally removed even though I soaked them for 2 days. My throat was hurt for a couple of hours. Ever since then, I am afraid to cook toran julgi. Toran fruits are good because all the poison is gone after they are boiled. http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/toran-guk

      • arigomi My profile page joined 2/10
        Posted March 23rd, 2016 at 3:54 am | # |

        Maangchi, have you ever tried using fresh taro stems instead? The texture might be different from dried but it is much easier to use. Vietnamese markets sell fresh taro stems (bac ha) for making Vietnamese sour fish soup.

      • A_Fishstick My profile page joined 5/15
        Posted March 23rd, 2016 at 5:13 pm | # |

        Oh wow! Thank you so much for the information. I’ll stick to making the soup without the stems. Thank you for taking the time to answer. :)

  5. Martina_Austria Austria My profile page joined 3/16
    Posted March 20th, 2016 at 5:04 am | # |

    Hello Maangchi!! I searched for some recipes of korean food but some of them at youtube i didn’t really like but today i found your videos and i loved them!! i have to cook immediatly!! :) thanks for your great videos!!

  6. leaningtower San Diego, CA My profile page joined 3/16
    Posted March 20th, 2016 at 1:24 am | # |

    I saw your video when I woke up today and knew I just had to make it. I attached a picture of the finished product so you can see. I’m going to eat it for the entire week! I’m so excited!! Thank you for your delicious recipe and awesome video. :) <3


    See full size image

  7. samkim77 Toronto, Ontario My profile page joined 3/16
    Posted March 19th, 2016 at 10:27 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi! I love yukgaejang and I can’t wait to try out your recipe! I had one question however…usually when I order it in restaurants, it has dangmyeon in it, and for me that’s one of the big reasons I like it (I’m a huge noodle-lover!), so I was just wondering when you might suggest adding the dangmyeon if I were to add it? Thank you :)

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted March 19th, 2016 at 11:08 am | # |

      I’m a huge noodle lover, too! : ) You can add sweet potato starch noodles (dangmyeon) to yukgaejang. If you do, add them at step 6 in the recipe along with beef and mushrooms. The noodles will expand and get soggy in the soup if you don’t eat the soup quickly though.

  8. DrNugu S.Korea My profile page joined 2/14
    Posted March 2nd, 2016 at 7:50 pm | # |

    Hi there. I love your site and your recipes. I make this dish for my Korean wife often and she loves it.

    I think there is one small mistake in your ingredients. You call for 5 tsp of salt. I think this is far too much and I think it must be a typo. I added 3 1/2 the first time I made it an it was crazy salty. I’m now down to 1 tsp of salt and 1 tbsp of beef broth powder.

    Also, I double the ingredients (except the salt) in the “hot pepper oil sauce” and that suits our tastes better.

  9. BeccaRoma My profile page joined 1/16
    Posted January 7th, 2016 at 6:52 pm | # |

    Maangchi,
    Hello! I am 100% Italian, with a 100% Korean boyfriend that I just moved in with :) I have never cooked Korean food before (but have cooked many other Asian dishes in the past). I wanted to surprise him with something, and I tried this soup today for the first time. HE LOVED IT, and did not stop praising me! The only ingredient that I did not have on hand was the kosari, but I substituted it with asparagus, since I had nothing else. I also left out half of the red pepper, but added some Nam Prik Pao for flavor. I am looking forward to making him more recipes from your site, and thank you for helping me with my first Korean cooking experience!


    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted January 10th, 2016 at 12:17 pm | # |

      I’m very happy to hear that your “100% Korean” boyfriend kept praising you while he was eating your yukgaejang! : ) You can replace gosari with sliced mushrooms and use lots of green onions.

  10. jsp73 My profile page joined 3/15
    Posted June 1st, 2015 at 4:12 pm | # |

    Boiling the brisket at a such a high temperature results in tough meat. Slicing it thinly does help. However, to make the meat more tender, I treated the soup just as I would an Italian bolognese sauce. After adding the sliced brisket at the end, I kept the soup at a low simmer for several hours. This did not appear to overcook the vegetables or affect their texture too much because they are very fibrous to begin with (especially the toran).
    however, the slow cooking breaks down the connective tissue in the meat further and makes for a more tender brisket (any barbecue chef will tell you that “slow and low” is the best way to cook a brisket anyhow).

    I ate YukGaeJang regularly when I lived in Korea. I couldn’t figure out how to make it spicy enough. Everyone prepares it differently, but my favorites were always the ones that made me sweat (if it doesn’t make me sweat, then it isn’t spicy!). I bought some chiles at the Korean market and, instead of slicing them whole and incorporating them into the soup, I cut them into quarters and put them in a cheese cloth sachet –steeping them as you would a tea, while the stock simmered. I thought the peppers were tougher than normal and I did not want to add them into the soup sliced or otherwise. This method added heat and flavor, but not the tough flesh.

    My Korean wife loves this recipe. Thanks. Also, your ddeok bboki recipe is the best! I haven’t tried to make my own ddeok yet, but that is on my todo list.

  11. aamomo NY My profile page joined 11/14
    Posted November 15th, 2014 at 7:39 pm | # |

    Maangchi,

    I have tried numerous recipes from you and they are all tasty, thank you!
    Today I tried yukgaejang and it is quite different from the one I tried from a food court at H Mart in Bayside, NY. Have you been to that food court before? I can’t tell where is the difference, I don’t think it is because of MSG.

    aamomo

  12. jtaylor9003 North Carolina My profile page joined 7/14
    Posted July 28th, 2014 at 1:54 pm | # |

    I loved most every dish I ate when I was in Korea. This soup was always my favorite during the colder months. I would rotate between this and the spicy squid at lunch constantly. I am finally glad to have the recipe so I can finally make my own. I will be trying my hand at a lot of your recipes. Thanks!

  13. ddnorman Southern NH, USA My profile page I'm a fan! joined 9/13
    Posted February 1st, 2014 at 4:20 pm | # |

    Maangchi,

    육개장 맛있어요! I had a hankering for some hot and spicy soup and I had some beef left over from Bulgogi last weekend. So I made Yukgaejang! I had enough left over so I will put some in the freezer and see how that works.

    감사합니다!
    Dave

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 3:10 pm | # |

      Hi Dave,
      Awesome! “I had enough left over so I will put some in the freezer and see how that works.” Let us (me and my other readers) know the result! I usually keep my leftover yukgaejang in my fridge up to 1 week and I never freeze it.

      • ddnorman Southern NH, USA My profile page I'm a fan! joined 9/13
        Posted February 4th, 2014 at 5:13 am | # |

        Maanchi,

        Will do! I will try it after one month and let you know how it tastes! I am sure it will still be delicious. My wife does this with many soups and stews and they always come out good! She also makes a lot of homemade broths and stocks (fish, chicken, turkey, vegetable) and freezes those as well.

        Cheers!
        Dave

      • ddnorman Southern NH, USA My profile page I'm a fan! joined 9/13
        Posted March 2nd, 2014 at 1:19 pm | # |

        Maangchi,

        As promised, here is my report on yukgaejang in the freezer. I knew it would be good, but it was even better than I expected! I defrosted it yesterday, heated it up on the stovetop for lunch today. Once it was ready, I dumped some rice in. It was delicious! The flavors melded and tasted even richer. I would say that it was an unqualified success! Now I can make larger batches, freeze it and have it anytime! ^^

        감사합니다!
        Dave

        • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
          Posted March 3rd, 2014 at 1:18 pm | # |

          Thank you for updating your yukgaejang! “Once it was ready, I dumped some rice in.” yay! That’s what I do! : )

  14. DrNugu S.Korea My profile page joined 2/14
    Posted February 1st, 2014 at 2:35 am | # |

    Great recipe! I made this but needed much more (3X) the red pepper/oil sauce to make it spicy like here in Busan.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 3:12 pm | # |

      Hi Busan dweller,
      yes, you can modify the amount of hot pepper flakes to your taste! Good job!

  15. tko_in_to toronto, canada My profile page joined 12/13
    Posted December 11th, 2013 at 10:35 am | # |

    I love this recipe! Thank you so much!

  16. martinaratna DKI JAKARTA, INDONESIA My profile page joined 12/13
    Posted December 10th, 2013 at 7:13 am | # |

    Annyeonghaseyo eonni! ^o^

    I am a fan of Korean delicacies, and THIS RECIPE IS JJANG! Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe! I love the taste and the ingredients are quite simple, & quite easy to make.

    Anyway I did a little experiment with this recipe. I cooked this recipe using 2 different method :

    1. Following your recipe, the soup came out very refreshing, & of course very delicious!

    2. After some experience, instead of using water only, I mixed with SOY MILK! The ratio is around 50:50 with water. Surprisingly, it turned out WONDERFUL. The taste come out savoury & great.

    I can’t wait to try cooking the other recipes. Wish me luck..!!

    Gamsahabnidaaaaa~

  17. iamko Fresno My profile page joined 2/13
    Posted February 22nd, 2013 at 6:16 pm | # |

    Maangchi! :) will this soup still taste good without gosari??

    • mrssteinert Dortmund, Germany My profile page joined 2/13
      Posted July 3rd, 2013 at 10:40 am | # |

      yes, it’s still good, you can add some mushrooms as well. I also put some eggs (break it and put it slowly in the boiling soup) for the last touch into the soup. really delicious!! :)

  18. jawsua Oregon My profile page joined 1/13
    Posted January 30th, 2013 at 8:48 pm | # |

    Where I live the Korean store has 토란. How do I cut it?

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