Yukgaejang (Korean Spicy Shredded Beef Soup with Vegetables)

Yukgaejang was another dish I whipped up over my "week of atonement" for forgetting the Hubs' birthday. A spicy soup laden with shredded beef brisket, and uniquely seasoned with gosari, this is really quick to make, BUT only IF the beef is pre-cooked and shredded. The reason I say this, is because I didn't think brisket would take more than 2 hours to soften (enough to shred). And so I only started cooking in the evening after work, and because the beef took 4 hours to cook through, it meant that the Hubs only got to eat dinner close to 11pm.


So, lesson learned: pop your brisket into a slow cooker first thing in the morning before you go to work, so it cooks through the day, and when you get home, it takes like less than half an hour to cook a hearty comforting stew.

Ingredients (feeds 4 pax):
1kg beef brisket
10 cups water
1 head garlic, cloves smashed
1 small onion, cut into big chunks
1 cup fresh mung bean sprouts
1 cup bracken fiddleheads (gosari), rehydrate in water overnight
4 cups shiitake, sliced
Sesame seeds for garnishing
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: eggs (apportion 1 per pax)

Seasoning (A) (this makes a 1-person portion of paste):
2 tbsp guk ganjang (Korean light soy sauce for soup)
2 tbsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes)
3 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp gochujang (Korean red pepper paste)
1 tsp doenjang (Korean bean paste)

1) Parboil beef in water, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2) Boil and simmer beef with fresh pot of water, about 10 cups, with smashed garlic and onion, for at least 4 hours, until beef tender enough to shred. If pressed for time, pop this into a slow cooker first thing in the morning before you leave for work. It'll be soft enough to shred by the time you return from work.

3) Mix seasoning (A), multiply amount by 4 times, in proportion to number of pax.

4) Drain beef when tender to shred, reserving about 8 cups of stock, and discarding the garlic and onion. Shred beef into pulled strips.

5) Marinade shredded beef with mixed seasoning (A).

6) Return marinated beef to pot with stock.

7) Add mushrooms and gosari, at low boil for 15 minutes.

8) Transfer to individual ddukbaegi (those black Korean earthenware pots), add sprouts and stir in egg drop, for each pax.

9) Salt and pepper to taste, and serve with lashings of sesame seeds.

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