Taro soup

Toran-guk 토란국

Today I’m going to show you how to make toran-guk, a delicious soup made from taro. This dish is a combination of a savory and nutty broth, tender beef brisket, and soft, nutty, starchy taro.

Many cultures around the world cook with taro, usually the root (which is technically a thick underground stem called the corm). It tastes similar to a potato, but it’s sweeter and nuttier and kind of creamy, like mashed potatoes. It’s easy to digest and is has good source of vitamins, minerals, and protein.

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Check out the taro chip recipe that I filmed with Mere in New Zealand as part of my Gapshida show. Mere showed me how to make delicious taro chips and a creamy sauce made with tofu! I found out taro is eaten in many cultures at that time even though the size of taro that Mere used was huge!

Korean taro (toran) is very small in its size. Peak season for taro in Korea is fall, so it’s customary to eat toran-guk during the Korean harvest festival of Chuseok. But I can find taro any time of the year in New York City, so I often make the soup.

Taro is called toran in Korean. “To” means earth and “ran” means eggs, so toran translates to something like “eggs under the earth.” I think it’s a beautiful name, whoever created it.

Raw taro is toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate, so it’s not safe to eat raw and it will irritate your skin. If you peel raw taro with your bare hands, they’ll get itchy and achy after a while. But if you cook taro, the toxin is destroyed by cooking. This is my line for you: “Boil taro and peel taro, and cook taro!” : )

Happy cooking!

taro soup (toran-guk : 토란국)

Toran-guk table setting. Front: white fluffy rice, toran-guk. In the back from the left: yeolmu-kimchi (young radish kimchi), kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi), and sukju-namul (mung bean sprouts side dish).

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

  • 1 pound peeled taro
  • ½ pound beef brisket, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup perilla seeds powder
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • water

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How to peel taro

To get 1 pound of peeled taro, you’ll have to prepare about more than 1 pounds taro.

  1. Bring 4 to 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the taro and cover. Cook for 10 minutes over medium high heat.
  2. Strain the taro and soak in cold water.
    taro soup (toran-guk : 토란국)
  3. Peel with a potato peeler or a kitchen knife. Rinse the peeled taro and strain.taro soup (toran-guk : 토란국)
  4. Cut each taro into bite size pieces and put them into a bowl. Set aside.

Directions

  1. Boil 6 cups of water in a pot over medium high heat. When the water starts boiling, add the beef and garlic. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.beef brisket for taro soup
  2. Open and add the peeled taro, fish sauce, and salt. Cover and keep cooking for another 20 minutes.
  3. Place a fine strainer into the soup. Put the perilla seed powder into the strainer and stir it around with a spoon so it gets absorbed into the broth. The soup will turn a little milky and you’ll have leftover sludge in the strainer. Press the last of the perilla seed powder through the strainer with a spoon and remove.taro soup (toran-guk : 토란국)
  4. Add the green onion and cover. Cook another minute.
  5. Serve hot with rice, kimchi, and a few more side dishes. You can refrigerate this soup for up to 4 days.

taro soup (toran-guk : 토란국)

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10 Comments:

  1. pp_123 Hong Kong joined 12/14
    Posted September 19th, 2015 at 12:41 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!
    I just want to say that I have been so impressed by your recipe that earlier today I went to my community’s Korean town and bought some perilla seed powder home! I can’t wait to work on this recipe. I have one question though – not particularly related to this recipe – Can you recommend some other recipes that need perilla seed powder for me? I want to utilise this ingredient haha~

  2. Woohoo joined 6/15
    Posted September 15th, 2015 at 1:55 pm | # |

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it. What brand of pots/pans do you use here? It looks very sturdy, and I need to get some new ones.

  3. neesfatin joined 8/15
    Posted September 15th, 2015 at 5:43 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,
    I’m glad you make the Toran-guk, here in Malaysia we have something similar to Toran-guk. we called it masak asam batang keladi; we use the soft stem and the taro to make this dish, with pounded dried anchovies, onion or shallot, garlic and dried chilies. Bring it to boil and add in some tamarind juice or Asam Gelugur (Garcinia cambogia fruit ). Toran or Taro in Malay is Keladi. There’s another type of taro and this one is big we merely called it Yam. This small taro like the one you used to make Toran-guk, usually used to make Kueh Talam Keladi or Kueh Kacau Keladi or snack similar to potato chips. I hope you can share more delicious Korean Food…. Till next time… Take care Maangchi…

  4. xelloss1989 United States joined 1/13
    Posted September 14th, 2015 at 12:18 am | # |

    I love 들깨! This summer when I ate 통국수 in seoul, lots of places their 통국수 seems to have 들깨 in it, and it tastes extra nutty and savory. Maangchi, do you by any chance know the recipe for this kind of 통국수, and plus, for 들깨버섯탕 and 들깨수제비?

    Thank you!

  5. sweetmouth brooklyn, ny joined 4/10
    Posted September 12th, 2015 at 10:24 am | # |

    hii maangchi<3 is it okay to use pork if we don't have beef :( ?

  6. Evawu_ joined 9/15
    Posted September 10th, 2015 at 3:29 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!!!

    I’m a big fan and have made some of your recipes and finally signed up. (thought i was signed up already for the longest time)
    I was wondering for this recipe is there a substitute for the perilla seeds powder???
    Thanks.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 10th, 2015 at 3:32 pm | # |

      Welcome! : ) If perilla seeds powder is not available, use sesame seeds powder.

  7. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13
    Posted September 9th, 2015 at 9:38 pm | # |

    Hi, Maangchi!

    The deulke garu you use in this recipe is the same as the deulke garu in the sauce of gamjatang recipe right? I bought a big bag and kept it in my freezer just like you. I bought it awhile back to use in gamjatang, my son’s favorite korean soup. He doesn’t like to eat vegetables but he eats everything i put into my gamjatang: watercress, kimchi, kongnamul.

    Thanks for sharing all your awesome recipes. It helps me get my son to eat his greens.

    Ima

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08
      Posted September 10th, 2015 at 12:07 pm | # |

      Hi Ima,
      Yes, they are the same deulkkae-garu.

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