Spicy Korean Beef Stew (Yukgaejang)

With this recipe we wanted to take what we’ve learned about the spiciness that comes from the addition of things such as Gochujang paste and chilli flakes and mix it with some of the more experimental additions we’ve found in dishes such as Daeji Bulgogi (Korean Spicy BBQ Pork), which we’ve found is best when combined with shredded pear and apple. So although the closest recipe we can think of is Yukgaejang – this is perhaps not that. It is however a very good autumn stew, which is both spicy and sweet (derived from the apples and pears) and remains conscious of typical Korean flavours and preparation methods. Read on for our Spicy Korean Beef Stew Recipe.

Some Tips Before You Start

In remembrance of the late great Keith Floyd I always try to cook with a glass of wine in hand – I suggest you do the same. 

  • We like to mix up our mushrooms. So use whatever you prefer – white button mushrooms are fine, but chestnut, shitake mushrooms and even porchini will work.
  • Cook the beef for as long a time as you can before you add the vegetables to get it soft. However, if you don’t have the time then don’t fret – it’ll still taste great.
  • Don’t be afraid to edit the recipe a little to your liking! A little creativity goes a long way in the kitchen!

Ingredients (makes 2):

  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1-2 Tbsp Korean pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • Sunflower oil/vegetable oil or similar
  • 1 large red onion (chopped chunky)
  • 5 large cloves of garlic
  • 400g beef cubes
  • 400ml chicken stock (vegetable or beef stock would also work as a substitute)
  • 3 Tbsp of soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp of Gochujang paste
  • 1.5 Tbsp of sesame oil
  • 1 green apple (grated)
  • 1 pear (grated)
  • 3cm of ginger (chopped very small or grated)
  • 150-200g of mushrooms (chopped chunky)
  • 2 large potatoes (chopped chunky)
  • 2 carrots (chopped chunky)
  • some sliced spring onions for serving
  • sesame seeds for serving


1. In a bowl season the beef chunks with salt and pepper and with the Korean peppers flake.

2. Then pre-fry the beef in a little oil on high temperature for about 1-2 minutes, preferably in a stew pot to release it’s juices. Put aside.

3. Add some more oil to the pan after removing the beef, and sauté the onions, garlic and ginger. Fry it for a couple of minutes until everything starts to get soft and release a nice aroma.

4. Add the beef with its juices back to the pot with the onions mix, fry for a couple of minutes and add the stock, soy sauce, gochujang paste, sesame oil, grated apple and pear. Mix well and add the mushrooms. Cover the pot, put it on very low heat and leave it like that for preferably 3 hours. Just cook for as long as you can if you don’t have the three hours – or cook a day ahead if it’s more convenient – the stew will sit comfortably in the fridge for 3 days and can easily be frozen too.

5. About half an hour before you’re finished cooking the stew, add the diced potatoes and carrots.

6. For serving add sliced spring onions and sesame seeds on top (refer to top image).