Food Hipster At Home: Yukgaejang

I have a thing about Korean food. I’ve only eaten it regularly in the past year or so. Some of these posts will document my forays into Korean cuisine.

Of the dozens of Korean dishes I eat regularly, yukgaejang (육개장) is hands down my favorite. I sample it in every Korean restaurant I come across. Sometimes its lackluster (ahem, random Korean restaurant in SF) and sometimes its passable. My favorite place to get it is Banpojung near my home. Yukgaejang is a spicy beef and vegetable soup. But…ITS SO MUCH MORE. Its just an excellent melange of delicious. And the spicier, the better…for me at least.

I have made yukgaejang once before…with mediocre results. It was spicy (but still not spicy enough) and bland. I wasn’t getting the full beefy deep flavor. I see now that the first recipe I used was way oversimplified.

The main components of yukgaejang are:

  • beef (brisket is best)
  • bean sprouts
  • green onions
  • fernbrake
  • a whole lotta spicy shit (red pepper oil and red pepper flakes)

It starts off simple enough. Make a beef broth, right? Beef, water, onions, garlic. So on.

Mmm beefy. Once the beef cools, it should shred easily. Brisket is awesome that way.

The you’ve got to briefly boil your bean sprouts and fernbrake. Then mix up the RADIOACTIVE SAUCE.

RED PEPPER FLAKES OF DEATH.

The spice base consists of red pepper flakes (of death), red pepper oil, soy sauce, sesame oil (oblig), garlic, black pepper, and salt.

CONSUME AT YOUR OWN RISK (terrible picture is terrible)

Then you toss all your veggies and shredded beef with the sauce and let it rest for about 20 minutes so all the flavor seeps in. After you let it rest, you saute it up for a few minutes.

By now your kitchen will smell amazing and you may be sneezing from all the spice. Take it as a good sign.

After all that we come to the easy part! Dump your spicy goodness back into the broth, and cook it for 20 minutes. At that point if you want to be awesome, beat an egg and drizzle it over the soup for the final touch of greatness.

I made this on Sunday, but I didn’t try it until last night, a firm believer in the rule that soup tastes better the next day. It was PHENOMENAL. I may have done a happy dance. I had it for dinner again tonight and it was equally delicious and satisfying.

BOOM.

Whatever. Trust me. Its delicious.

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