Korean Spicy Beef Soup (Yukaejang)

Korean spicy beef soup yukaejang recipe

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Yukgaejang (sometimes spelled yookaejang) is a hearty Korean soup that warms you from your head to your toes. Full of meat and vegetables, it's fiery red, bold, and spicy. Yukgaejang is a one-pot meal that requires very little hands-on time but tastes like you've spent all day making it.

Brisket serves as the protein for this soup as well as flavoring for the broth. For an extra kick of meaty flavor, use beef broth or bouillon. You'll find gochugaru and gochujang in some well-stocked grocery stores, Asian markets, or online. To make this a full meal, include the optional noodles.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound brisket
  • 4 quarts water
  • 2 bundles scallions, cut into thirds
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 3/4 cup dried fernbrake (gosari, or bracken fiddleheads, presoaked)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper powder (gochugaru)
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper paste (gochujang)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Optional: 1 cup cooked glass noodles

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for yukgaejang, Korean spicy beef soup
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. In a large pot, bring brisket and about 4 quarts of water to a boil.

    Brisket boiling in a pot
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until meat is tender, skimming off fat and foam.

    Spoon skimming foam off the top of the boiling water
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Remove the meat from the broth but keep the broth in the pot.

    Cooked brisket removed from the pot
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. When it's cool enough to handle, hand-shred the beef with the grain.

    Shredded beef in a bowl
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. In a mixing bowl, combine shredded beef with scallions, bean sprouts, and fernbrake (gosari).

    Shredded beef in a bowl with scallions and sprouts
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. Season beef and vegetables with garlic, sesame oil, red pepper powder, red pepper paste, soy sauce, and black pepper.

    Seasoned beef and vegetables in a bowl
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. Add seasoned ingredients to the broth and bring to a boil.

    Soup boiling in a pot
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. Simmer for about 5 minutes and adjust soup to taste with soy sauce if necessary.

    Adding soy sauce to the boiling soup
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  10. Swirl the beaten eggs into the soup.

    Swirling the egg into soup
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  11. Add noodles, if using, and turn off heat.

    Adding noodles to the soup pot
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  12. Serve in bowls and enjoy.

    Korean spicy beef soup in a bowl (Yukaejang)
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Store

  • This soup tastes even better the next day. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • This soup can also be frozen. After cooling, add the soup to an airtight container, leaving an inch of headspace. Freeze for up to three months and defrost in the fridge before reheating.

Recipe Variations

  • For meatier flavor, replace half or all of the water with beef broth or add a couple of beef bouillon cubes or granules.
  • Red pepper powder and pepper paste add heat—adjust the amounts according to your level of heat tolerance.
  • If your soup isn't salty enough, add more soy sauce to taste.
  • Adding noodles to this soup turns it into a complete meal. You can also choose to serve it with freshly steamed rice.