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.

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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

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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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145 Comments:

  1. jsp73 joined 3/15
    Posted October 21st, 2017 at 8:31 pm | # |

    BTW, I haven’t tried this recipe, but I have made your old recipe many many times. It was AWESOME! I quadruple it these days (sometimes more) because it freezes very very well. I used to add some homemade beef bouillon to it (no salt — made from bones) to give it a stronger beef flavor. I also added a lot of cayenne (thinking about trying Korean capsaicin sauce this time — the stuff often used in buldak to make it extremely hot). Can you provide a link to the old recipe so I can compare and contrast the two? Please? It’s getting cooler — perfect time for this dish or dak komtang, seolleongtang, galbitang, samgyetang… etc.

  2. jsp73 joined 3/15
    Posted October 21st, 2017 at 8:11 pm | # |

    I swear the video I watched whenever I made this dish referenced toran (you substituted celery). I have a whole lot of dried toran. My wife (Korean) INSISTS that I use toran but I am not sure how much to use. It’s even more difficult to measure since it needs to be rehydrated. Happily, I can easily find refrigerated gosari.

    How to use dried toran????

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