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. HunterJE Kirkland, WA, USA joined 8/11 & has 1 comment

    I’ve made this a couple of times now, and it’s really become one of my favorite soups. I’ll add that while the recipe as given here is huge, that’s not at all a bad thing, as like many soups this actually gets better at second warming. It also freezes quite well. I’ve gotten in the habit of making this any time I see brisket or other tough cuts of beef on reduced price and freezing up the leftovers.

  2. edrea Vancouver, Canada joined 11/10 & has 2 comments

    maangchi unnie.. kkk.. I made yukgaejang with your recipe.. and I proudly present my blog post of it!

    http://edreasjourney.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/my-yukgaejang/

    By the way, I could find dried Toran, so I used that instead =)
    Thank you for the recipe!!

  3. pianistcook Ellicott City, MD joined 9/10 & has 1 comment

    Just wondering – if adding an egg or two at the end (like some restaurants do) – do you just beat the eggs first, and then with the soup cooking, just pour in the beaten eggs so it become strands? What is your official advice for adding egg at the end?
    Thanks

  4. patriciam6 Los Angeles, CA joined 8/10 & has 2 comments

    After months of eying your site, I finally followed a Maangchi recipe to try to remake one of my favorites, yook gae jang. My friends and family warned me it was a time-consuming dish so I was relunctant to attempt this. But I made it and when I tasted the broth, I felt a tad let down until I realized I had forgotten the 7 garlic cloves you put in during your video lesson! After I put that ingredient in, the broth tasted so much better! Much more fuller! And NO MSG, I love it! Of course, I did add a couple serrano chiles and some more spoonfuls of red pepper flakes because I like my food verrrry spicy….

  5. sirdanilot Terneuzen, The Netherlands joined 10/09 & has 25 comments

    hi I went to the Korean grocery once and I saw something that looked like dried kosari, but on the bag it said ‘sweet potato stems’ or something like that. Do you know what it is (perhaps bad translation of kosari?) and how to prepare it? Sorry I don’t have a photo, perhaps I will buy it next time just to be curious.

    • Reinier Rotterdam, The Netherlands joined 2/09 & has 102 comments

      Hi, i know what you mean i saw this product too before, but they are different things. I don’t know an application for the ‘sweet potato stems’.
      Kosari usually has ‘fernbrake’ or ‘dried bracken’ on the package.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,682 comments

      Yes, “sweet potato stems” is different from kosari. I think the bag of dried vegetables is sweet potato stem as it says. It’s called “goguma julgi namul” in Korean. You will have to soak it in warm water overnight and cook it just like dried kosari. https://www.maangchi.com/ingredients/kosari

      I will post the recipe for sweet potato stems someday in the future.

  6. Bobojas joined 1/10 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    I have been having a really nice Bo Yang Jeongol ( Lamb & Vegetable in hot soup) in many restaurants, it seems like a very common soup in Korea.

    I absolutely LOVE this dish. Would you please please show me how this dish is cooked?

    you don’t need to do a video, I would LOVE just to have the recipe.

    you can go to this link to see a photo of the dish

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4271382866/

  7. Martha& has 5 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Happy new year 2010!

    I was curious what toran looked like. It looked like yam stem. Are you able to source this in New York? I think you may be able to source this from a grocery store that sell Vietnamese produce. The Vietnamese make a sour fish soup using the yam stems. As a kid, I remember cross-sectionalising the stem and dip in colour paint(art) to make imprints of butterfly, may not be the same edible variety though.

    I needed to remind myself again on how to make Yukgaejang. Your u-tubes definitely make cooking easier.

    regards,
    Martha from Hoju.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,682 comments

      Thank you Martha,
      Yes, I found dried toran stem at a Korean store later. Toran stem is needed for this soup. I found celery stems are good alternative in this recipe.

  8. Hazel& has 2,265 comments

    I made this as a part of Christmas dinner, and oh my goodness it was sooo good =) I didn’t even have all the ingredients (like bean sprout and kosari) but it turned out super delicious =) I followed your advice and added a lot more green onions, and I also increased the amount of kochukaru and added some egg at the end =D
    I have one question though, Maangchi. I was wondering if I can just substitute the vegetable oil with extra virgin olive oil or something =)
    Thank you so much for the recipe! When I make it again (it will definitely be soon), I shall send you pictures =D And next time, I’ll have the kosari and bean sprouts!

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,682 comments

      You are genius in cooking! “I followed your advice and added a lot more green onions, and I also increased the amount of kochukaru and added some egg at the end..”

      Ironically, I roasted turkey on Christmas day! : ) see? I love all kinds of food!

  9. Sylvia joined 9/08 & has 78 comments

    What a good suggestion for a cold winter day.
    Delicious! and everyone in the family loved the soup.

  10. gina& has 1 comment

    i just made this, it was DELICIOUS< thank you!!

  11. David& has 1 comment

    Hello!
    If I want to use 토란 instead of celery, how much should I put in? Also, is your recipe fairly spicy? I am trying to make it pretty spicy 한국사람이니깐요^^

  12. sirdanilot& has 2,265 comments

    just an update! I made this tonight without the bean sprouts and the kosari, but it turned out quite good! I think I added a bit too much water, but I fixed it by adding some more soy sauce.

    I made this together with rice, kimchi and one of your potato side dish recipe!

  13. Louie& has 2 comments

    Hello, Maangchi –
    So far, the best YukGaeJang I’ve had was in a little restaurant on an ROK airbase near Haemi. It was not possible to tell if the heat was due to spice or temperature.

    Is brisket what one would use in Korea, or is it the closest thing that’s available outside of Korea?

    I will try your recipe in either case, and probably say “thank you” by buying your book!!

  14. Cam& has 9 comments

    Hi!
    I randomly had all the ingredients for this recipe (except kosari :P) in my fridge/freezer! Made it for me and my sister tonight and it was really good! My sister isn’t really an adventurous eater, but she said she loved it and ate a big bowl.
    I’m so amazed- every recipe of yours that i’ve tried has been super tasty! Thanks and all the best

  15. Joanna& has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! I just love your website. thank you so much for sharing your recipes! I tried making yukgaejang at home and it was delicious.

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