Spicy Korean Beef Stew (Yukgaejang)
Yukgaejang is one of my favorite Korean stew's and also happens to be one of my mom's specialties.
She'll always have them frozen for me when I visit. Also strangely, I once had a very eccentric acupuncturist in Brooklyn who I adored who told me to stop eating salad and to eat yukgaejang instead. She might be onto something...
1 lb of beef brisket (flank and tri-tip are also a good cut that shreds easily)
1 large onion or 1 leek sliced
6-7 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon black peppercorn
10 cups water
1/2 cup Korean fiddle head (gosari), re-hydrated, and well rinsed, cut into 2" slices
1/2 cup Mung bean sprouts
1/4 cup (2 oz) torandae (dried taro stems) or fresh if you can find
3-4 dry shitake mushrooms, soaked
4 tablespoon Korean chili flakes
3 tablespoon Korean soy sauce for soup, gookganjang
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 Tbs of dashida (korean beef stock powder)
sesame seeds, salt, and pepper to taste
For the chili oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon Korean chili flakes
In a large pot, combine beef, onion, garlic cloves, peppercorn, and water. Bring to boil and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes. Skim off the scum. Reserve the beef and the 5-6 cups of stock. Discard the rest.
Let the meat cool and shred the beef into 3-4 inch strips and set it aside.
Now, we need to blanch the vegetables.
In a small pot, boil water. Blanch gosari if dried for about 20 minutes. When ready to use, rinse in cold water and drain. Cut off tough ends of the stems.
Blanch taro stems in the same manner, set aside.
Blanch mung bean sprouts with a little salt for 2 minutes. Using a strainer remove the sprouts from the water and rinse in cold water, squeeze out the excess water, and set aside.
Blanch the mushroom in the same manner. Set aside.
In a frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over low heat. Add the 1/2 tablespoon of Korean chili flakes and gently stir well. You will see the oil is changing its color to red. Be careful not to burn the chili flakes.
In a large bowl combine shredded beef, fiddleheads, mushrooms, and taro stems. Add the Korean chili flakes oil, 1 Tbsp of Korean soy sauce for soup, and minced garlic. Using your hands mix them all together until all the ingredients are well mixed with the seasoning.
In a large pot, add the beef mixture to the reserved stock. The stock should cover every ingredient in the pot, add more stock or water if you don't have enough.
Add in another 2 Tbsp of soup soy sauce into the broth.
Bring to a gentle boil and cover with a lid and simmer for about 1 hour over low heat.
Add in bean sprouts and scallions and boil over medium heat for another 10 minutes. Add salt (1 teaspoon or more) and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in some sesame seeds as well.
Serve with rice.