Homemade Yukgaejang (Korean Spicy Beef Soup)

Hearty, comforting, and full of BIG spicy Korean flavor. Yukgaejang is the Korean soup recipe you didn’t know you were craving!

Hearty, earthy, and so delicious — Yukgaejang or Korean Spicy Beef Soup is one of my favorites!

All those vegetables. And that slick, spicy oil. There is nothing more comforting than this homemade Korean Yukgaejang recipe. The perfect meal with a bowl of rice and kimchi!

What is Yukgaejang?

Yukgaejang is a hearty Korean beef soup that’s loaded with vegetables and shredded beef.

A trio of Korean vegetables make this soup especially delicious and special: gosari (fern bracken/fiddleheads), bean sprouts, and scallions. Yukgaejang is also well known for a shimmering layer of addictively spicy oil.

Korean is a mountainous, forest-filled peninsula and Korean cuisine takes advantage of the plentiful vegetables that grow there. This Yukgaejang recipe is one them — as it highlights the earthy, woodsy flavor of Gosari alongside a plentiful amount of scallions. All the flavors of Korea is celebrated in this unique, spicy soup!

Ingredients:

For homemade Korean Yukgaejang soup, there are 3 main components: Beef Broth + Vegetables + Spicy Seasoning Paste.

Beef Broth:

  • Beef flank or Beef Brisket. The lean cut of beef provides great flavor and shreds easily. A key component of the soup’s texture.
  • Beef Dashi Powder (or beef bouillon cube). My secret ingredient to beefy tasting Korean soups! Like chicken bouillon powder, it’s available in granulated form. Look for it at the Korean market.

Vegetables:

  • Daikon + Onion. The flavor base. The daikon, especially, gives depth of flavor and that Korean soup essence.
  • Fern Bracken (Gosari) + Soybean Sprouts (Kongnamul) + Green Onions/Scallions. The trio of vegetables that characterize this Korean spicy soup recipe. They add texture and deep flavor. Wild ramps can be subbed for green onions/scallions.

Spicy Seasoning Paste:

  • Garlic, Gochukaru, Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Mirin, Sesame Oil. Mix in one bowl then toss with vegetables and beef strips. So delicious!

What is Gosari?

Gosari is an essential ingredient for Yukgaejang. Also known as fern bracken, fernbrake, or fiddlehead ferns — their earthy texture and deep flavor add so much to this Korean Spicy Beef Soup!

Gosari is commonly added to Bibimbap. And served as banchan (side dish) at the Korean table.

Note: Raw Gosari can be poisonous in large amounts. To make this delicious vegetable safe to consume, blanch first in boiling, salted water.

Where can I find Gosari?

At Korean grocery stores, Gosari is available in 3 forms:

  • DRIED. The most common way to find Gosari. Look in the dried goods section. You’ll need to rehydrate by soaking overnight first.
  • PAR-BOILED + BAGGED IN WATER. Gosari can also be found par-boiled in vacuum sealed bags of water. Look in the refrigerated section. Simply drain and rinse before cooking.
  • FRESH. Fresh Gosari is rare but can be found in the produce aisle. You’ll find it packaged in styrofoam and wrapped in plastic film, parboiled and drained.

Choose the Gosari that’s easiest to find and most convenient for you!

How to make Yukgaejang:

Making this Yukgaejang recipe is simple when you break down the steps:

  1. Prep the Gosari.
  2. Make the beef broth.
  3. Shred beef into strips.
  4. Mix vegetables + beef strips with seasoning paste.
  5. Simmer everything together!

Yukgaejang Recipe Variations:

  • Add noodles. Change it up by adding instant ramen noodles or Dangmyeon (sweet potato noodles).
  • Make it less spicy. Yukgaejang is not a super-spicy soup but you can lessen the spice by halving the Gochukaru.
  • Veganize it! Leave out the shredded beef, beef dashi powder, and fish sauce. Replace with shitake mushrooms, kombu, and soy sauce for plant-based flavor instead.

PRO tips:

  • Prep the Gosari. In advance, if possible. That will make cooking this spicy Korean soup easier and faster.
  • Cut vegetables + shred beef into similar-sized strips. Easier to eat and looks pretty when piled on top of each other.
  • Add Beef Dashi powder. Adds so much beefy flavor!
  • Use a big bowl. Makes tossing and mixing everything easier. Use a bigger bowl than you think.

More Korean soups to enjoy:

close up of yukgaejang in dark bowl with spoon

Yukgaejang aka Korean Spicy Beef Soup

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Hearty, comforting, and FULL of big flavor. A big bowl of Yukgaejang will satisfy all your cravings for spicy spicy spicy.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Soaking Gosari 8 hrs
Course Dinner, Lunch, Soup
Cuisine Korean
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Stock pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb beef flank steak or beef brisket
  • 1 large onion (or 2 small ones) peeled + halved (keep halves intact for easier removal)
  • 1/2 lb Korean radish or daikon peeled + cut into thin half moons (about 1 cup)
  • 10 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp beef bouillon powder (I use Korean beef Dashi)

Vegetables

  • 1 cup dried Gosari (fernbracken) (or 2 cups rehydrated/fresh Gosari)
  • 6-8 green onions (scallions) or wild ramps trimmed into 2-inch segments, white parts halved
  • 1 cup Soybean sprouts (Kongnamul) washed and black spots picked over

Seasoning Paste:

  • 8 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup Gochukaru (Korean dried chili flakes) (use 2 Tbsp if you like things less spicy)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (not the low sodium kind)
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp mirin (Korean sweet cooking wine)

Instructions
 

Prep Gosari:

  • For dried Gosari: soak overnight in cold water. The next morning, drain and cover with fresh cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes until soft and slightly chewy. Drain and rinse with cold water. Chop into 2-inch pieces, and set aside.
    dark plate of Gosari (Korean fern bracken) on gray napkin
  • For pre-boiled, vacuum-packed bags of Gosari: drain gosari in colander. Rinse well with cold water. Chop into 2-inch pieces and set aside.
  • For fresh Gosari: The Gosari should already be parboiled. Rinse well with cold water and drain. Chop into 2-inch pieces and set aside.

Make Beef + Radish Broth:

  • Add beef, onion, and water to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and skim off the scum that rises to the top. Lower heat to medium low and simmer (covered) for 30 minutes.
    soup pot filled with flank steak and onions
  • Add radish and continue cooking (covered) about 30 minutes more. At this point, the beef should be tender and shred easily. The radish should also be somewhat soft and translucent, but not fully cooked.
  • Remove onion and discard. Remove beef and set aside to cool. Add beef bouillon powder and stir well.
  • When the beef is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized strips about 2 inches long. Shred into strips, going along with the grain (not against the grain). Set aside.
    shredded beef flank steak in white bowl

Make Seasoning Paste:

  • Add all the ingredients for the seasoning paste in a large bowl and mix well with a spoon, until a thick and chunky paste forms.
  • Add beef strips, green onions, and Gosari directly on top of the seasoning paste. Mix until the meat and vegetables are well coated, tossing and mixing well with hands. (Food service gloves work well here).
    stainless steel bowl with green onions, beef, gosari

To serve:

  • Add spicy beef/Gosari/green onion mixture to soup and mix gently with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer until the vegetables have softened and the flavors have combined, about 15 more minutes. Add bean sprouts and simmer for 5 minutes more.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper, if needed. Serve hot with rice and kimchi and banchan of choice. Enjoy!
    bowl of yukgaejang or Korean spicy beef soup
Keyword Korean, Spicy Beef Soup, Yukgaejang
All Recipes, Beef, Korean, Soup

2 Comments

  1. Nevermind I found it! Not the most careful reader here 🤷🏻‍♀️

  2. When do you add the bean sprouts?

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