This red spicy Korean chicken and vegetable soup (dakgaejang) might look devilish, but it is a heartwarming comfort soup. With lots of leeks and mushrooms, it’s actually not as spicy as it looks. Learn my secret tips to maintain the redness of the broth.
When the weather outside is cold and wet, I am thinking of a bowl of very spicy soup. Koreans love their winter soup with strong heat and this spicy Korean chicken soup(dakgaejang) will hit the spot.
If you are fond of Yukgaejang (spicy Korean beef stew), you will love its chicken version but simplified. The traditional way of making yukgaejang takes time and some effort.
I like things simple even in the recipe. So here is my version of spicy Korean chicken soup (dakgaejang) that is easier to make.
I will also share a secret on how to maintain the devilish red broth all the way through until you finish the entire batch of soup. Now that’s a devilish good news. Don’t you think?
Homemade Chicken Stock Is A Must
Good soup requires a good stock. Use a whole chicken, preferably organic chicken. Add onion, leek, garlic, chunks of radish, and dried sea kelp. Boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Reserve the stock. Dscard the vegetables and shred the chicken.
What Vegetables To Use?
I use mung bean spouts, oyster mushroom, Asian leek, and Asian chives. You can leave out Asian chives if you can’t find. You can also substitute Asian leek with a bunch of green onion.
How To Make Chili Oil
Heat Korean chili flakes and some garlic in oils over low flame until the oil turns to red color, about 1-2 minutes.
You can adjust the amount of chili according to your desired heat tolerance. Be careful not to burn your chili flakes. Use low heat, otherwise it will easily burn the chili flakes.
Add the leek, and Mung bean sprouts and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until they get softened.
Secret To Keep The Broth Red
Most times, soups made with chili oil turn the broth very red at the beginning but easily disappears once cooking is finished. It leaves the soup somewhat less attractive.
Here is my tip to maintain the devilish redness in the broth.
Add 1/2-1 tablespoon of Korean chili paste. It won’t change the texture of the broth, but holds its redness all the way through until you finished the whole batch of soup.
It adds a slight body to the soup and tastes better, too.
Seasoning Of The Soup
Boil the soup with vegetables until they are soft.
Add the chicken and heat through.
Season the soup with Korean Soy sauce for soup and tuna sauce (if you have).
I like to add tuna sauce since it adds a more depth to the broth, but you can leave out if you don’t have. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed.
Lastly, sprinkle Asian chives to the soup. You can leave out and add more green onion if you wish.
As you can see, this spicy chicken and vegetable soup will maintain its redness all the way through until you finish the entire batch.
It looks so devilish red, but it’s tolerable and not overly spicy. You can always adjust the amount of chili flakes depends on your preference.
Simply serve with rice and kimchi as a side dish. You don’t need anything else. It’s a hearty soup and perfect for cold weather when you need extra kick to keep you warm.
However, this soup is well served in any season though. It freezes well, so make a batch and enjoy anytime you need a spicy comfort.
More Delicious Korean Soup Recipes
Spicy Korean Chicken and Vegetable Soup (Dakgaejang)
For the chicken stock;
- 1 whole chicken about 2.5 lb
- 2-3 thick slices of Korean or daikon radish
- 1 onion cut in half
- 1 Asian leek sliced, see note below
- 6-7 cloves garlic
- 1 dried sea kelp (dashima)
- 12 cups water
For the soup;
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2-3 tbsp Korean chili flakes (gochugaru)
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- 10 oz mung bean sprouts
- 5 oz oyster mushrooms
- 1/2-1 tbsp Korean chili paste (gochujang)
- 2 tbsp Korean soup soy sauce (gukganjang)
- 1 tbsp Korean tuna sauce optional
- 1/2 cup Asian chives sliced optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large stock pot, add all the stock ingredients and pour water. Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken on the side to cool, discard the vegetables and reserved the stock. Shred chicken and set aside.
- In a large soup pot, heat oils over low flame, add the chili flakes and garlic. Cook until oil turns red and fragrant, stirring constantly; about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn the chili flakes.
- Add the leeks and mung bean sprouts and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms and the reserved stock.
- Add the chili paste and mix everything well. Bring the soup to boil over medium heat and cook until the vegetables are soft and tender.
- Add the shredded chicken and heat through. Season the soup with Korean soy sauce for soup and the tuna sauce. Add the Asian chives (if using) and stir well.
- Add more sauces, and salt & pepper according to your taste. Serve hot with rice and kimchi on the side.