52 Week Challenge – Meal #15 (12/6/20)

Yukgaejang (Spicy Beef Soup with Vegetables)

This was a Dave Chang inspiration. While I was listening to his podcast, he had brought up this soup and how he basically inhales it every time that it is made. In turn, I just had to try it. Being that it was the 6th of December, we had Christmas tunes on again.

Like all previous recipes done here, simply click on the above title for the link of what was borrowed (adapted?). As always, I’ll lay out what we followed as well as any of the changes that were made along the way.

The Line-up (Ingredients)

1 ounce dried gosari 고사리 (fernbrakes) – yields about 1 cup rehydrated

(not your everyday ingredient . . . only size available, too)

1 pound beef brisket, 양지머리 (or flank steak or shank meat)
1/2 onion do not cut the stem
8 ounces Korean radish (mu, 무) cut into big chunks – optional

(Uh, yeah . . . it’s big . . . and phallic – sorry)
(we only needed this much of it though . . . size doesn’t matter)

14 cups water (For richer soup, you can use milky beef bone broth to boil the beef.)
8 ounces bean sprouts (sukju, 숙주)
3 dry shiitake mushrooms soaked
2 – 3 bunches scallions 2 or 3 stalks of Korean daepa
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons gochugaru, 고추가루 (red chili pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons guk ganjang, 국간장 (soup soy sauce)
1 teaspoon gochujang, 고추장 (red chili pepper paste) – optional
1 teaspoon doenjang, 된장 (soybean paste) – optional
salt and pepper
2 eggs – optional lightly beaten
3 ounces dangmyeon (당면), starch noodles

(we found them – not easy!)

Game Plan (Instructions)

1) Add the gosari and 4 cups of water to a small pot. Boil over medium heat, covered, until tender. It might take about 30 minutes, but the time can vary significantly depending on gosari. Turn the heat off and let it cool in the cooking water. When ready to use, rinse in cold water and drain. Cut into 4-inch lengths, removing tough ends of the stems, if any.

(It’s a close-up of the cutting work done on the gosari)

2) In a large pot, bring the meat, onion, optional radish, and garlic to a boil in 14 cups of water. Reduce the heat to medium, and skim off the scum. Boil, covered, until the meat is tender enough for shredding, about 1 hour. Pull a string of meat off and check the tenderness. Let the meat cool a bit in the cooking liquid. Discard the vegetables, reserving the stock in the pot. Spoon off any visible fat. The broth should be about 7 to 8 cups.

(this really doesn’t look too pretty at this point)

3) When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred into about 3 to 4-inch strips.

4) Blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water for a minute. Wash with cold water and drain. Cut the scallions into 4-inch lengths. Thinly slice the soaked mushrooms.

5) In a pan, heat the sesame oil until hot over low heat and stir in the chili pepper flakes. Turn the heat off as soon as the oil starts to turn red and the chili pepper flakes become a bit pasty. This only takes a few seconds. Do not burn the flakes.

6) Add the meat, fernbrakes, mushrooms, 1 tbsp soup soy sauce, and garlic. Combine well.

7) Add the meat and gosari mixture along with 1 tablespoon of soup soy sauce into the broth. Stir in the optional gochujang and doenjang, and boil over medium high heat, covered, for 10 minutes.

8) Throw in the bean sprouts and scallions, and boil over medium heat for another 10 minutes. Add salt (1 teaspoon or more) and pepper to taste.

(Getting closer to wrapping up and readying this dinner soup!)

Within a few minutes before turning the heat, add the optional noodles. Slowly drizzle the optional eggs over the boiling soup and turn the heat off. Serve with rice.

(Bowls were topped off with “matchsticks” of Korean radish)
(Final shot of the soup – mmm, mmm, mmm, good)

It was good – really good. However, we did think of a couple other things to be done differently, if cooking up this soup again. First, we would want more mushrooms than what was listed in the recipe. Next, we would want to spice it up more, because the meat should have been more flavorful. Lastly, some lime should have been squeezed in to bring out more flavor. Nevertheless – all of the soup was inhaled, but not during one sitting. The very next day, I remember being at work on the road and simply draining my bowl (poured it back like a beverage). I thoroughly enjoyed every drop of the yukgaejang – say that 3x in a row.

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