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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150 Comments:

  1. Girlieannyen& has 7 comments

    hi maangchi.. i love korean food. but i never cook it b4. I would like to try cooking it. but i bought the red pepper paste. but i noticed that u use red pepper powder in this recipe. is it possible for me to use red pepper paste instead of pepper powder? and does it taste the same?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,670 comments

      For yukgaejang recipe, you need hot pepper flakes instead of hot pepper paste. I would not use hot pepper paste because it has its own strong flavor. You will have to get right ingredients to make delicious yukgaejang.

  2. Regina& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    Your website is so amazing!!! I miss my mom’s cooking and can’t go to see her often enough. Your recipes taste just like hers and has inspired me to continue to cook Korean so that I can someday cook it when I have a family! Question… At the Korean market I could only find either wet royal fern, or dried fernbrakes. I bought the dried fernbrakes… is that the same as Kosari? Thank you!

    Regina

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,670 comments

      Yes, it’s kosari! Do you know how to handle dried kosari?
      I’m copying and pasting my answer from my comment section under bibimbap recipe.

      Dried kosari

      1. Place kosari in cold water in a pot. 1 cup of kosari will need
      more than 20 cups of water.

      2. Boil it for 30 minutes and don’t drain hot water and let it soak. Wait about 6-8 hours. I usually boil it at night and drain it next morning.

  3. samita& has 8 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    What other vegetable can I use if I do not have celery, kosari or Bean sprouts on hand for Yak gae jang ?

    Thanks.

  4. Charles& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,
    This all sounds, looks and taste fantastic, However, i have tried and failed a million time to make Kalbi Tan Soup( spelling ???), Do you have any suggestions besides go to a restaurant.

  5. fatma& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

    Thank you so much for your recipes and also you nice videos. I have a question about soy sauce, because now I live in Japan, may I use Japanese sauce(we called soyu) instead Korean soy sauce? I am worry the taste will be changed. Thank you before.

  6. Somi Chuhon& has 1 comment

    I have made your yuk-gae-jung a couple of times now and I’m loving it! It’s my favorite soup, but I’ve always had to rely on my mother or aunts to make some for me. Now I eat it on a regular basis because I can make it myself.

    One person asked about that smokey flavor. My aunt suggested that you can make pull more flavor out by frying the hot pepper flakes and oil mixture first. You have to be really careful not to burn it. But if you catch it JUST as it’s about to turn brown, the flavor changes and has that nice smokey flavor I think you are looking for.

    Anyway, thanks SO MUCH Maangchi for making my life so much more enjoyable! I make it at least once a month now!! YUM!!

  7. ryza& has 6 comments

    hi,maangchi is it ok if i wiil use pork instead of beef?

  8. elna& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,
    I love your website =D

    Can i use this broth to act as the broth for the spicy korean shabu shabu?

    I am craving it in Singapore for so long and could not find any restaurants selling shabu shabu here =(

    so, I am cooking it on saturday!! hehe. I am so excited..

  9. ryza& has 6 comments

    hi,maangchi what is kosari?

  10. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,670 comments

    Angela,
    I think the restaurant made the soup base by boiling lamb meat.

  11. Angela& has 2,257 comments

    Thanks for your response!
    the Lamb was stripped and cooked, the soup base was a little milk also..

  12. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,670 comments

    Angela,
    hmm, the lamb hot pot dish sounds delicious especially with sesame leaves (perilla leaves)! It must be invented by the owner of the restaurant. Was the meat cooked and stripped? Korean style hot pot (called “shabu shabu”) is usually made with beef sliced thinly.

    Anyway shabu shabu recipe will be posted someday on my websie and YouTube. I’m going to use beef.

  13. Angela& has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,
    How are you !! I once had a lamb hot pot from a restaurant and it was soooooo delicious. Would you know what it is and maybe show us how it is made ???

    It had stripped lamb meat, lots of sesame leaves, chives, mustard seeds, the soup wasn’t spicy. It seems that this dish is not on the menu from many Sydney restaurants.

    Can’t wait to hear from you.

    Thank you again

  14. Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,670 comments

    kimbrooklyn,
    if you want, use some ginger, but I don’t like to use ginger because the flavor is too strong for soup. sure, I am going to post korean style pickle recipe someday. (using radish, cucumber, green chili pepper..’

  15. kimbrooklyn& has 1 comment

    Love your site. My husband loves this soup and I want to make it but I think I tasted a little ginger in the ones at the restaurants. Can I put ginger in this soup? And if so how much? I also have a request, do you have recipes for pickled sides? like pickle, radish or jalepeno in soy sauce brine.

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