Yukgaejang is one of my favorite Korean soups and that’s saying a lot since I love most Korean soups. I like the fact that yukgaejang pairs plenty of spice (red pepper powder and paste) with soft, relatively bland ingredients (beef, eggs, bean sprouts, noodles). It’s also surprisingly easy to cook, given its complex, multifaceted taste.
Yukgaejang (Spicy Beef Soup) — 육개장
- 1 lb. flank or shin beef, in one piece
- 6 c. water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 6.5 oz. mung bean sprouts, straggly tails removed*
- 8 to 10 scallions, cut in 1¼-inch lengths
- 5 tsp. soy sauce**
- 1 Tbsp. garlic, finely chopped
- 4 tsp. Korean red pepper powder***
- 4 tsp. Korean red pepper paste (gochujang)****
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 7 ounces glass or potato starch noodles (optional)*****
*Mung bean sprouts are not the same as “regular” bean sprouts, which are soybean sprouts. If you can’t find mung bean sprouts, you can substitute soybean sprouts. (See photo above.)
**To make this recipe gluten free, I used San-J Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (available at Whole Foods or for $6.69 + shipping on Amazon.com.)
***You can find plastic bags or canisters of Korean red pepper powder (called gochugaru in Korean) at Asian grocery stores or on Amazon.com for about $13 a pound. Gochugaru‘s consistency is between a coarse powder and a fine flake, so it is sometimes called red pepper powder or hot pepper powder and sometimes called red chili flakes. (See photo above.)
****You can buy gochujang in plastic, tub-like containers at Asian grocery stores or for $10 on Amazon.com. The tubs are easy to identify, even if you don’t read Korean, because they are always red in color, to match their contents. (See photo above.)
*****You can buy potato starch noodles in Asian grocery stores. They are sometimes called glass noodles because they are transparent when cooked. Look for a large bag in the dried noodle section and the words “sweet potato starch” in the ingredients list. (See photo above.)
- Put beef in a saucepan with the water and salt.
- Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer until the beef is tender.
- Remove beef and shred very finely.
- Return beef to the stock and add bean sprouts and scallions.
- Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes. Add soy sauce, garlic, red pepper powder, red pepper paste, sesame oil and noodles, if using,
- Simmer for a few minutes.
- Just before serving, stir in the eggs gently.
- Serve hot.
[From The Food of Korea]