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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Mahi Mahi, Spicy Citrus Soy Sauce


Fresh Wild-Caught Mahi Mahi
Spicy Citrus Soy Sauce
Served over Crunchy Raw Mung Bean Sprouts with Chopped Peanuts

I am always pleasantly surprised by Mahi Mahi (also known as dorado or dolphinfish). It has a sweet mild flavor similar to swordfish, firm texture with large moist flakes. The name Mahi Mahi means strong-strong in Hawaiian, referring to its swimming ability, not  its flavor. This species of fish grows and matures quickly and has a lifespan of 5 years, so its population can probably withstand fishing pressures. Speaking of fish lifespans, I was recently reading about the slow-growing Orange Roughy, and its lifespan of well over 100 years. The article said something like “the Orange Roughy in your freezer is probably older than your grandmother.” (And not a good choice on the sustainability charts either).

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Mushroom Egg Foo Young with Gravy

mushroom egg foo young

Mushroom Egg Foo Young
I grew up in Chicago.
Every Sunday we would have Chinese take-out for dinner.
As a kid, one of my favorite dishes was the mysterious egg foo young.
Back then, the only ingredient that I knew it contained for sure, was egg.

Blend 4 eggs with 2 T. flour, then add a finely chopped shallot, a couple sliced scallions, chopped parsley, salt and pepper.

Add about a cup each of chopped bean sprouts and cooked brown mushrooms.

Heat vegetable oil in an omelette pan then ladle in half of the egg mixture. This recipe makes 2.  Cook over medium high heat until the bottom browns. Finish cooking the top side under the broiler.

Meanwhile prepare the gravy by making a light brown roux with 2 T. each vegetable oil and flour. Slowly add a cup of beef (or vegetable) stock, finish with a splash of dry sherry, salt and pepper to taste.

Place a serving platter on the pan and flip the egg foo young over onto the platter.
Top with gravy and garnish with scallions and parsley.
Egg Foo Young, demystified and delicious.
Do you remember an exotic dish from your childhood?