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Ox (beef) bone soup, Seolleongtang
설렁탕

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healthy
soup
prep time: 
60 min
inactive time: 
90 min
cooking time: 
900 min
total time: 
1050 min

Seolleongtang (ox bone soup) is one of the most popular soups served in restaurants in Korea. The soup is renowned for its milky white color, remarkably thick taste and its richness in protein and calcium. It's eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the year. It’s especially popular at home during the winter. Korean mothers prepare the soup for 몸보신 (mom bo shin); the soup helps to enhance health and stamina for the family.

Seolleongtang is time consuming to make; the ox bones are simmered over a low flame over a period of several hours to an entire day, to allow the flavor to be gradually extracted from the bones. Therefore, large batches are often prepared at once and the extra broth is frozen to be used later as a base for other dishes like ddeokguk (rice cake soup), manduguk (dumpling soup) and siraegiguk (radish stem soup).

Seolleongtang has long been a part of Korean cuisine. One possible origin of the soup can be traced to the Joseon era during the king's ancestry ritual. During the ceremony a cow would be killed in sacrificial offering, and afterwards this cow would be made into a soup. Another possible origin is from a Mongolian method of cooking beef in water.

The soup is served without any seasoning. The seasoning is done at the table: chopped green onions, minced garlic, salt and pepper are served on the side, added before eating to personal taste. Rice and kkakdugi (cubed radish kimchi) are always served with the soup. Dadaegi 다대기 (spicy seasoning) is sometimes served on the side.

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Change to: Metric US

Main ingredients

4 lb 7 ozOx (leg) Bone 사골 (leg bones or tail bones)
1 lb 12 ozBeef, flank 양지 (or shank)
60 cupsWater 물 (excluding soaking water)

Other ingredients

½ cupChopped Green Onion 다진파 (served on the side)
½ cupGarlic (minced) 다진 마늘 (served on the side)
6 tbsSalt 소금 (served on the side)
6 tbsBlack Pepper 후추 (served on the side)
11 ozKorean thin noodles 소면 (optional)
Ingredients Notes: 

Some people like to add whole garlic, ginger, green onions or radish while boiling the bones. I personally don’t like adding herbs and seasonings during the boiling process because I prefer the pure flavor of the ox bone in the soup.

Special Tools and Equipments:
-large pot
-large bowl
-fine strainer
-Korean Stone Bowl

           
tips: 

Good to know
Where to find ox bones
Most Asian markets or Korean grocery stores should have ox bones. You can use leg bones, tail bones, head bones or a mix of the three types of bones.

How pick good ox bones
Ox bones should be white and shiny on the surface (not yellowish) and the middle of the cross section should be pinkish (not blackish).

The broth from boiling the meat
You can save and freeze the beef broth and use it to make other Korean dishes such as buckwheat noodles in chilled broth (naengmyeon).

Optional Ingredients and Substitutions
Beef: Instead of beef flank, you can use beef shank.
Herbs and seasonings: Some people like to add whole garlic, ginger, green onions or radish while boiling the bones. I personally don’t like adding vegetables and seasonings during the boiling process because I prefer the pure flavor of the ox bones in the soup.

instructions
photos
summary
Ingredient amounts in the recipe instructions are for the default serving size.
Click to enlarge photos.
Ingredient amounts in the recipe summary are for the default serving size.

1. Wash ox bones

Wash 2kg (4.4 lb) of ox bones them by rubbing under cold running water.

image: TSLTBF01.JPG
1

Wash

  • by rubbing
  • cold water

2. Soak ox bones

Soak the ox bones in cold water for 60 minutes to remove blood.

image: TSLTBF02.JPG
2

Wash

Soak

  • cold water
  • image: clock.png 60 min

3. Re-wash ox bones

Drain the water out and wash them thoroughly again by rubbing under running cold water.

image: TSLTBF03.JPG
3

Wash

  • by rubbing
  • cold water

4. Pre-boil ox bones

Boil 5-6 cups of water (enough amount for all the bones to be submerged) in a pot. Add the bones and keep boiling on high heat for 10 minutes. Leave the lid open for the pre-boiling stage so the gamey smell will evaporate.

image: TSLTBF04.JPG
4

Boil

  • 5-6 cups water

Add

  • bones

Keep boiling

  • High Heat image: highheat.png
  • image: clock.png 10 min

5. Wash ox bones

Drain the water out and wash them thoroughly by rubbing under cold running water.

image: TSLTBF05.JPG
5

Drain water

Wash

  • by rubbing
  • cold water

6. Boil ox bones again

In a large pot, boil 20 cups of water and add the bones in the boiling water. Cover the pot and keep boiling on high heat for 30 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium and keep boiling covered for 3-4 hours or until the liquid is reduced to half. Remove any foam and fat floating on top every hour or so.

image: TSLTBF06.JPG
6

Boil

  • 20 cups water

Add

  • bones
  • cover
  • boil High Heat image: highheat.png image: clock.png 30 min

Reduce heat & boil with lid on

Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 210 min

Remove

  • foam and fat

7. Filter

Filter the soup through a fine strainer into a large bowl. The same bones are used to make more soup and all the soup is collected in one large bowl.

image: TSLTBF07.JPG
7

Filter

Cool

8. Repeat 3 times

Repeat steps 5 and 6 (Add water to the same bones, boil and filter) 3 times. Each time you will notice the soup getting whiter and whiter. Each time the soup is poured into the collecting bowl so that the soup from the three different batches are all mixed up for consistency in color and flavor.

image: TSLTBF08.JPG
8

Repeat steps 6 & 7

  • 3 times

9. Remove fat

Once the soup has cooled, leave it in the fridge or a cold place like a balcony in winter time until the fats solidify on the surface. Remove the solid fat from the surface with a spoon.

image: TSLTBF09.JPG
9

Cool

Remove solid fat

10. Soak beef

Soak beef flank (or shank) in cold water for 30 minutes.

image: TSLTBF10.JPG
10

Soak

  • 800g (1.76lb) beef flank
  • cold water
  • image: clock.png 30 min

11. Boil beef

Boil 8 cups of water and add 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of joseon ganging (a.k.a gukganjang, soy sauce for soup). Add the meat and boil with a lid on on low to medium heat for 1 hour.

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11

Boil

  • 8 cups water
  • High Heat image: highheat.png

Add

  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • meat

Keep boiling with lid

  • Med Heat image: medheat.png image: clock.png 60 min

12. Cut meat

Remove the meat and let it cool. You can save and freeze the liquid from boiled meat as beef stock for other dishes but do not mix it with the soup from the bones. Once the meat has completely cooled, slice the meat thinly (about 1/8” thick). If the meat is still warm, it will be difficult to slice it thinly. Keep the broth in the freezer for later use (for other dishes).

image: TSLTBF12.JPG
12

Let the meat cool

Slice

  • meat
  • 1/8” thick

13. Prepare noodles (optional)

Boil 4 cups of water in a pot. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 300g (10.5 oz) noodles. Typically only a small amount of noodles is added to a serving of soup. So, 300g is for 6 servings. Boil on high heat for 5 minutes or until the noodles are cooked. Drain the water and wash in cold water 3 times. Completely drain the water in a strainer.

image: TSLTBF13.JPG
13

Boil

  • 4 cups water

Add

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 300g noodles

Boil

  • High Heat image: highheat.png image: clock.png 5 min
  • until cooked

Drain

Wash

  • cold water
  • 3 times
  • drain completely

14. Serve I

Place the desired amount of the bone soup in a Korean Stone Bowl (optional) and bring to boil. Remove it from the heat. Add noodles (optional) and the sliced meat on top.

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14

Reheat soup

  • stone bowl(optional)

Add

  • noodles (optional)
  • meat on top

15. Serve II

Serve the soup hot with a bowl of rice and kkakdugi (radish kimchi) on the side. Also, serve chopped green onion, minced garlic, salt and black pepper on the side. Add desired amounts of the seasonings just before eating.

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15

Serve on the side

  • rice and kkakdugi
  • chopped green onion
  • minced garlic
  • salt
  • black pepper