Korean Food: Yukgaejang (Beef Brisket Soup)
Truth be told. I’m Korean and I can’t really handle the hot, spicy stuff. I’ve gotten a lot better and I really love Korean food. . but I cannot down an entire bowl of Yukgaejang by myself. Kimchi Fried Rice, Bibimbap, and Jajangmyun? Forget it. You’d better get out of my way. Why did I make this then? Yukgaejang is one of my husband’s favorites! He loves Korean food and has been a happy camper ever since I came to my senses and started cooking Korean food at home. Click here if you want more of the back story on this.
We used to live in Los Angeles. Los Angeles and New York (I think) are the best places to get Korean food here in the states. . Dallas, TX is a close third in my book! So when we craved Korean food in LA, we just went to K-town (Korea town) or the closest restaurant to our place. Heck, you can get good, cheap, Korean food from the food court at a Korean shopping mall. Love it.
Whenever I think of Yukgaejang, I think of my dad. I remember my dad just sweating so much when he was eating Yukgaejang because it was so hot and spicy. His head would be buried in the bowl, coming up only for air occasionally in between bites. And his glasses would sometimes be foggy when he lifted his head up to wipe his sweat. It was awesome. I think everyone in my family can handle the heat, except me. Don’t know what happened.
So, my family and I went to the Korean market for these ingredients. . you kind of have to. . and here in Washington, fortunately, we have a Korean market in Bellevue, which is relatively close by. . if you don’t have a Korean market close by, head to any Asian market and see what you can find. These days, we’re always running out the door late. . I barely remember to grab the diaper bag and my purse and we head out. I always seem to forget something and yesterday, I forgot my grocery list. Brilliant. So, I try to call my mom but can’t reach her and just buy the ingredients I remember.
Of course I forgot the royal fern . . It’s not crucial but it’s an ingredient that is pretty much always in Yukgaejang. . I love me some fern, but today, we had to go without. I made our Yukgaejang extra spicy for my husband and watered down mine a lot. He loved it and my oldest daughter tried it (one bite) so that’s all that matters to me.
I hope you enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1½ lbs. lean beef brisket, thinly sliced or cut into chunks
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons red pepper powder (gochugaru)
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup red pepper paste (gochujang)
- 1 package (1½ lbs) water-packed boiled royal fern, rinsed
- 1-2 medium yellow onions, sliced
- 4 cups of beef broth
- 3-4 cups of bean sprouts
- 4 oz mung bean or sweet potato noodles (might be called cellophane or glass noodles or Chinese vermicelli; can be found at any Asian/Korean grocery store)
- 1-2 cups tofu, cubed (optional)
- ½ cup green onions, sliced into 1-2 inch strips + more for garnish
- Heat the sesame oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the cut beef brisket and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned on all sides, for about 3-4 minutes.
- Mix the garlic, red pepper powder, soy sauce and red pepper paste in a bowl and add to the pot. Add the royal fern, onions and beef broth. Bring to a boil and cover the pot and simmer on low until the meat is tender, about 40 minutes.
- In a separate pot, just a few minutes before the 40 minutes is up, boil some water and cook the noodles. You only need to boil these noodles for about 3-4 minutes.
- To the beef soup, add the bean sprouts, noodles, green onions and tofu (if using). Cook for about 10 minutes. Serve and add fresh diced green onion garnish to each bowl.
Recipe adapted from The Kimchi Chronicles cookbook.