Beef Radish Soup, when you feel blue

Beef Radish Soup

 The weather these days in Hong Kong is so gray, foggy, and wet, it almost forces me to feel blue.  I have not seen the bright sunlight for over 3 weeks. Come on, it’s spring! 
Let there be light!!!!

The foggy view from the 40th floor on the flat where I live is not the most uplifting scene.
So I blamed the weather for my downward mood, then went to my kitchen. 

Imagine that your kitchen is like the Disney world. It is a magical place where you can find excitements. Like a little kid who found his favorite toy under his bed that has been lost for months.

Today, I discovered my buddy, Moo-woo, the Korean radish that I bought nearly 3 weeks ago and totally forgot about his existence. I found him in the back of bottom of my fridge.
Oh! I shouted with joy. “Moo-woo! where have thou been?” 
Amazingly he was still looking good. Immediately I was inspired to make the Korean beef radish soup my mother used to fix on those rainy days. The clear sea kelp broth packed in flavor with tender beef and radish.
Sometimes something that might be insignificant to others can be your treasure in unexpected way. Moo-woo was and I was happy to see him again.
So I turned on the music, “What’ll I do” by Nat King Cole… I love his buttery voice…
and got to play with my buddy.

This is the Korean radish(무우, Moo-woo). He is tough, strong, and rugged. He even has a ponytail. Shabby guy!
He can last in your fridge over a month without loosing its freshness and taste. 
High in Vitamin and folic acid he is perfect for soups, Kimchees, and salads. He is a little tangy and peppery as raw but when cooked he gets mellow and sweet. He is a cousin to Daikon, the slim Japanese radish you see easily at your local groceries these days.

Anyway let’s get to work. 

This Beef Radish Soup is simple to make.

You will need beef, radish, dried sea kelp, Korean soy sauce, garlic, leek, sesame oil, pepper, and sweet rice wine(not shown in the photo, sorry!)

 First you need to make sea kelp broth. You can find this dried sea kelp in any Asian groceries these days. They are important ingredients in Korean or Japanese cooking especially for soups.
Rinse the kelp first and add it to the pot with water.
Boil first and simmer for 20 minutes to get the flavor out from the kelp.

Set a side.

Meanwhile, slice beef in cross grain direction. I use sirloin part.

Do not remove all the fat from the meat.  This is such a simple soup with only a few ingredients so you need the fat to bring out the flavor.

Marinade the beef with Korean soy sauce, sweet rice wine, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper.  Let it sit for 20 minutes.

Now I can imagine your wondering face that if the Korean soy sauce is the same typical soy sauce as Kikoman’s. Unfortunately it is not.

Korean soy sauce is more translucent and saltier.
It has pungent flavor than regular soy sauce.
You can find this sauce in Korean stores. It is called Gook-ganjang or Josun-ganjang(국간장 or 조선간장). If you can’t find it, use Thai fish sauce.
Do not use regular soy sauce.

IMPORTANT: The beauty of this soup is it’s clarity of broth and the regular soy sauce will make it look unattractive. The attractive look is very important these days, you know!

This is the sweet rice wine, Mirim.
This tenderize the meat and is commonly used in Korean meat dishes.
The bottle says, Mirim(미림), more delicious with Mirim, 14% alcohol, No MSG,
blah blah blah…

You can substitute it with rice wine and pinch of sugar.

Now let’s move on to the next subject.
Slice the desired length of radish.  Cut off his ponytail and peel the outer layer of his body.

He will shyly reveal his snow-white skin underneath.

Cut him into about 1 1/2″ high disks.

Then just slice him into whatever size you want but keep him about 1/4″ thick.

Slice both white and light green part from the leek.

Heat a little oil in the pot over medium heat and saute the beef until it gets all browned.

Remove the sea kelp from the broth and pour over the beef.
Save the kelp for garnish.

Add the radish slices to the pot and bring the soup to boil.

 Now do you see the beige gunk in the middle of the pot?
It is scum and you need to remove it to make clean soup.
Just use a spoon and scoop up as much as you can.

 Cover with the lid and reduce the heat to low.

Let it simmer for about 20minutes or until the radish gets very soft and tender.

You need to check the seasoning of the soup.
Add some salt, lots of pepper, a little more garlic if you need.
Add the leek at last and turn off the heat.
That’s all there’s to it. Quite simple, isn’t it?
This soup is like blank canvas. You can add some mushrooms or bean spouts if you like.
I often like to add red or green chili at the end to spice it up.

Serve with fresh hot rice. Any side dish(반찬, Ban-chan) you need is Kimchee.

So You are feeling a little moody and the weather is crappy?
Blame the weather first. It’s all his fault, anyway.
Crank up the music and search for the forgotten treasures in your kitchen. 
Get inspired.  
Make something good for your body and soul.
Then look through your photo album or photo library,
I promise that you will find something there put a smile on your face.

 My son, the toothless, had his 7th birthday last week.

  I call him toothless because he is toothless on the front.

He demanded a chocolate Lego cake and a pet dragon for his special day.
… inspired from the movie “How to train your dragon”.
As you can see I am not much of a cake decorator but hey, it tasted awesome!

Very moist chocolate cake with decadent frosting made with sour cream.

Can’t resist the temptation of a good chocolate cake made from scratch.
He even lost one more tooth as he was devouring this cake.
It was two thumbs up from my son!
And he was happy except for one thing…

A pet dragon!

Well, can anyone tell me where I can find one?

Because I’d really like to train one myself…

This is my beef soup for the soul.

Hope your day is great like mine.

Beef Radish Soup

Beef Radish Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6


  • 9" long dried sea kelp(Dashima) or 3-4 sliced sea kelp
  • 7C water
  • 3/4lb(400g) beef sirloin with some fat
  • 3T Korean soy sauce
  • 2T garlic chopped
  • 1T sweet Korean rice wine(Mirim) or regular rice wine with pinch sugar
  • 1T sesame oil
  • 1/2t pepper
  • 1/2 Korean radish or daikon radish
  • 1/2C leek, both white and light green part sliced
  • 2t oil (I use grape seed oil)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the dried sea kelp and add to the pot with water. Boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Set a side to make the broth. Reserve the sea kelp for garnish later.
  2. Slice the beef thinly cross grain direction and place in a shallow bowl. Add Korean sou sauce, garlic, Mirim, sesame oil, and pepper. Mix them well and let it marinade of 20 minutes.
  3. Peel the skin off from the radish. Cut into 1 1/2" high disks (about 2-3 disks). Cut into 3 sections and dice them about 1/4" thick slices.
  4. Heat oil in a pot over medium high heat. Saute beef to brown them. Pour the sea kelp broth to the beef and add radish slices. Let it boil.
  5. You will see some scum on top. Remove it by scooping up with a spoon.
  6. Cover with the lid and turn the heat to low. Let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the radish gets very soft and tender.
  7. Season with some salt and lots of pepper. Add the leek at last. Turn off the heat.
  8. Serve hot with rice and Kimchee as a side dish.
  9. Note : Garnish with sliced sea kelp and green onion.
  10. You can add some chopped red or green chili when you serve to spice up the flavor.
  11. The left over taste even better the next day.


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  1. 6


    I love this entry, and this soup. I grew up eating simple, delicious dishes like this thanks to my mom, who is Korean. Now I'm away from home and in college, so when I miss her I get in the kitchen and make some of my favorite dishes I learned from her. This is one I didn't know how to make, but it looks very similar and sounds like the right ingredients. Thank you for the recipe. Peace.

  2. 7

    jeanhee says

    i married a chinese man who loves korean food and esp this soup. i could never make it the right way, even w/my mom trying to teach me. thanks for the recipe! the pics and clear directions makes this so easy to follow too!

  3. 8

    Guest says

    Just made this delicious soup today and my husband and I both loved it! Very simple and real comfort food. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  4. 9

    julie says

    Second time making this soup and my kids just love it. I don't use green onions because daughter doesn't like but still wonderful. THANKS for sharing.

  5. 10

    Snowpealover says

    Love this – your writing style, the content, and very nice-looking recipe. Your characterization of moo woo is what endeared me enough to read it all! Too cute! Nice blend of cute with credibility! I will visit again – thank you!

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