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. BeccaRoma joined 1/16 & has 1 comment

    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 joined 8/08 & has 11,651 comments

      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.

  2. jsp73 joined 3/15 & has 17 comments

    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.

  3. aamomo NY joined 11/14 & has 1 comment

    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

  4. jtaylor9003 North Carolina joined 7/14 & has 1 comment

    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!

  5. ddnorman Southern NH, USA joined 9/13 & has 75 comments

    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 joined 8/08 & has 11,651 comments

      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 joined 9/13 & has 75 comments

        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 joined 9/13 & has 75 comments

        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

  6. DrNugu S.Korea joined 2/14 & has 3 comments

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

  7. tko_in_to toronto, canada joined 12/13 & has 1 comment

    I love this recipe! Thank you so much!

  8. martinaratna DKI JAKARTA, INDONESIA joined 12/13 & has 3 comments

    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~

  9. iamko Fresno joined 2/13 & has 1 comment

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

    • mrssteinert Dortmund, Germany joined 2/13 & has 6 comments

      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!! :)

  10. jawsua Oregon joined 1/13 & has 1 comment

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

  11. Nyla Queens, NYC joined 7/10 & has 2 comments

    What side dishes would you pair with the soup, beside rice?

  12. Gluv28 Chicago, Il joined 7/12 & has 1 comment

    I made this with the Kosari soaked in water. It soup was a little sour . Is it suppose to be????

  13. drewdaak United States joined 6/12 & has 1 comment

    One quick question – I love adding mushrooms to all my dishes. Would it be improper to add a few different types of mushrooms with the soup? Or would that take away from the flavor?

  14. simone Bochum, Germany joined 9/11 & has 2 comments

    My favourite Korean dish, I made it yesterday for the first time by myself-
    omg, it was sooo good ! And it tastes even better the next day when you reheat it :) !

  15. jinpong Washington State joined 6/11 & has 10 comments

    Wonderful recipe!! Perfect for fall/winter! Thank you for the recipe!! I think I added too much ingredients and not enough soup so I have lots of left over without soup. I think I’ll add more water and make more soup to eat leftovers!

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