Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}

Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}

A Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms

Yukgaejang 육개장

Beef, Mushroom, Bean Sprout, Leek, Fiddlehead, Chili

Yukgaejang is a haunting red-hued beef soup that is simultaneously spicy, smoky, earthy, and addicting… The rich color comes from gochugaru, a Korean red chili powder that is definitely spicy – but also has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried red peppers.

In addition to the gochugaru, the pronounced smoky flavor in my non-traditional version of this soup is derived from the charred baby oyster mushrooms. Earthy notes come from gosari (charmingly referred to as beef-of-the-mountains) along with the shiitake. Gosari are young fiddlehead stems harvested from moist wooded forests when the fronds emerge from the ground. Beef flank and beef stock bring the deep meaty component while garlic, leek, and toasted sesame oil round out the flavor profile.

Yukgaejang Recipe

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. beef flank
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 T. gochugaru (Korean coarse red chili powder)
  • 2 t. olive oil, plus more for grilling oyster mushrooms
  • 1 leek, julienne
  • 3 c. beef stock
  • 1 1/2 c. shiitake, de-stemmed and quartered
  • 1 c. bean sprouts
  • 1 c. gosari (young fiddlehead stems), rough chopped
  • baby oyster mushrooms
  • scallion, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • cooked rice for serving

Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}
Slice the beef into strips. Place beef in a bowl with sesame oil, garlic, and gochugaru. toss to coat.

Heat olive oil in a ddukbaegi (Korean soup pot) over medium-high heat. Add leek and sauté until soft.

Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}

Add the beef and continue to cook until the beef is browned.

Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}
Add beef stock to the pot, then add shiitake, gosari, and bean sprouts.
Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
baby oyster mushrooms
Meanwhile, brush baby oyster mushrooms with olive oil and grill over an open flame until lightly charred. Season with salt and pepper.

Matari Baby Oyster Mushroom

Matari baby-oyster mushrooms are available in many Korean supermarkets. Matari is the brand name for oyster mushrooms produced by Chungarang Farming Corporation located in Gonjiam, Gyeonggi-do. They are a petite oyster mushroom with a flavorful aroma and chewy texture. I was so excited to see this company’s booth at the Korean Food Fair held yesterday in Downtown LA, as I had just recently made this soup with their mushrooms.

K-Food Fair
It was an honor (and fun) to be invited to the K-Food Fair as part of the media team. The goal of this event was to bring a greater awareness of the healthful aspects of Korean foods to the American market and to increase imports to the U.S. while enhancing relationships between Korean companies and domestic buyers.

Now… to back to the yukgaejang!

Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}
Ladle hot soup into bowls. Top with grilled baby oyster mushrooms and garnish with scallions.

Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}
Serve yukgaejang with a bowl of rice on the side. And maybe a cold beer.

9 thoughts on “Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms {Yukgaejang}”

    1. Hi Sue – oh yes, those baby oysters are great grilled. Maybe you’ll see more of them in Australia soon – they are from Korea.
      Thanks so much for your comments!
      LL

  1. Wow, you really made a posting on Yukgaejang. It looks like a special soup and the white bowls and plates are well matched with the red color of the soup. When I arrived at Chicago to meet my sister last year, I went to a Korean restaurant and ate Yukgaejang to soothe my messy stomach. haha.
    I’m so happy to hear that you’re invited to the K-Food Fair. You know what? I was involved in evaluating some candidates which would prepare the Fair. I hope that the Fair was successful to promote Korean foods.

    1. Hi Jessie – that is so neat that you were involved with the K-Food Fair too. Perhaps our paths will cross one day?
      Yukgaejang is one of my favorite soups. And the color is awesome. Thanks for your comments 🙂
      LL

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