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.
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!
- 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
- ¼ cup hot pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 table spoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or any cooking oil)
On the side
- Extra kosher salt
Start cooking the beef, mushrooms, and onion:
- 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.
- Cook for 1 hour over medium high heat.
While it boils, make the seasoning sauce and prepare the vegetables:
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix it well.
- Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Put the mung bean sprouts, green onions, gosari, and garlic in a large bowl.
Make the soup:
- 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.
- When it’s done, remove the beef, onion, and mushrooms with a slotted strainer.
- Let the beef and mushrooms cool down and discard the cooked onion.
- Mix the vegetables with the seasoning sauce by hand until well incorporated. Add to the boiling stock.
- Cover and cook 20 minutes over medium high heat until the vegetables are cooked through and tender, but not mushy.
- Slice the mushrooms and pull the beef apart into strips. Add to the boiling soup and cook another 10 minutes.
- 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.