Seolleongtang is a type of Korean soup dish made out of beef bones with brisket or other tough cuts cooked for a very long time in low heat. In its simplest form water, beef and onions are the only ingredients used to prepare this dish, the long cooking process is what gives it a robust flavour as the collagen in the bones start to break down giving the soup a cloudy milky consistency. Once cooked seasoning is usually added upon consumption where it is served alongside the dish in the dinner table, condiments like salt, ground black pepper, red pepper, minced garlic and spring onions are the most common ones. Enjoying this soup can is as simple as it is, or you can either add noodles or rice in the mix.
This dish like most East Asian dishes have rich history behind it and usually created out of immediate need. A dish that originated during the Joseon dynasty, this was commonly served during their nationwide sacrifices to their ancestors called Sŏnnongje. Before it was even created during these times King Sŏngjong participated such events and had eaten meal with the people of Joseon, he saw the amount of people in such event which causes issues with the food supply in Joseon so he ordered that in succeeding festivities that the people of Joseon to prepare something could feed a good amount of people while using the least amount of ingredients. It was initially called seonnongtang and was changed to seolleongtang just because it’s easier to pronounce.
The first time I tried this I was in disbelief that it was only prepared with the least ingredients as possible so I have to try them at home. Indeed with just water, onions and beef bones you can make a really rich stock like this, preparation is next to none you don’t even need a recipe but the cooking time was the toughest part, to give it a really rich flavour I have to boil the bones for almost a day to achieve that cloudy consistency.
- 2 kg mix of beef leg bones and ox tails
- 1 kg beef brisket
- 1 large daikon radish, chopped
- 2 while onions, quartered
- 4 stalks spring onions, chopped
- freshly black ground pepper
- fresh somyeon noodles or any round white wheat noodles
- In a very large pot add beef leg bones and beef brisket, pour water enough to cover everything then bring it to a boil, simmer for 15 minutes until scum rises to the top. Drain pot, rinse of any impurities in the beef as well as in the pot.
- Bring back pot into the stove top, add the onion, radish and a bit of salt then pour water enough to cover everything. Bring to a boil then simmer in low heat for 2 hours.
- Remove the brisket and the radish then continue to simmer the bones in low heat for 3-4 hours or until broth turns cloudy. Turn heat off then let it cool.
- Once it cools down place pot in the fridge once the fat solidifies on the top, remove it retaining some for extra flavour.
- Reheat the bone soup together with the beef brisket and radish, once hot turn heat off.
- Place beef brisket pieces in a bowl together with some radish and cooked noodles. Ladle the hot soup into the bowls then serve with chopped spring onions, salt and freshly black ground pepper.