Korean Spicy Beef Soup (Yukaejang)

Korean Spicy Beef Soup (Yukaejang)

The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
332 Calories
20g Fat
12g Carbs
25g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 332
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 142mg 47%
Sodium 782mg 34%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 6mg 30%
Calcium 56mg 4%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 267mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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. In terms of the other ingredients, some may be familiar to you, and others may not. You'll find gochugaru and gochujang in many well-stocked grocery stores, Asian markets, or online. If you've never worked with fernbrake, it's a dried seaweed often used in Korean cooking. That, too, can be found in Asian markets and online, but it's also not unusual for home cooks to substitute for something fresh and green, such as fiddlehead ferns, asparagus, spinach, or watercress. To make this a full meal, include the optional glass noodles, which are gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound brisket

  • 4 quarts water

  • 2 bunches 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 gochugaru, red pepper powder

  • 2 tablespoons gochujang, red pepper paste

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 1 cup cooked glass noodles

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for yukgaejang, Korean spicy beef soup

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  2. In a large pot, bring brisket and about 4 quarts of water to a boil.

    Brisket boiling in a pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until meat is tender, skimming off fat and foam.

    Spoon skimming fat off the top of the boiling water

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  4. Remove the meat from the broth but keep the broth in the pot.

    Cooked brisket removed from the pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  5. When it's cool enough to handle, hand-shred the beef with the grain.

    Shredded beef in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  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 / Abbey Littlejohn

  7. Season beef and vegetables with garlic, sesame oil, gochugaru, gochujang, soy sauce, and black pepper.

    Seasoned beef and vegetables in a bowl

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  8. Add seasoned ingredients to the broth and bring to a boil.

    Soup boiling in a pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  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 / Abbey Littlejohn

  10. Swirl the beaten eggs into the soup.

    Swirling the eggs into soup

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

  11. Add noodles, if using, and turn off heat.

    Korean Spicy Beef Soup (Yukaejang) in a pot

    The Spruce / Abbey Littlejohn

How to Store and Freeze Yukaejang

  • 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.