A Spicy Korean Beef Soup with Smoky Baby Oyster Mushrooms
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.
- 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
Heat olive oil in a ddukbaegi (Korean soup pot) over medium-high heat. Add leek and sauté until soft.
Add the beef and continue to cook until the beef is browned.
Add beef stock to the pot, then add shiitake, gosari, and bean sprouts.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
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 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.
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!