A Local Specialty that Pleased the King: Seolleong tang (Ox Bone Soup)
: Seolleong-tang (ox bone soup) is made by slow-simmering the cow's head, feet, meat, bones and innards for hours. It is a popular luck menu for office workers and tastes of the succulent and savory taste of beef. Add plenty of sliced scallions and eat it with Kkakdugi (diced radish kimchi) for a nutritious one-dish meal.
Ttukbaegi, Scallion and Kkakdugi
: In the late Joseon period, there were a number of famous Seolleontang houses scattered around Seoul. At these spots, every part of the ox except the skin and a few byproducts would be immersed in a large cast iron pot and simmered from the early morning until one o'clock the next morning. The soup reaches a very thick stage by midnight. And this is when the regular customers would start to flock to the restaurants. Adding some tangy Kkakdugi juice into the thick white soup is a fantastic combination and a great way to enjoy Seolleongtang. The taste of Seolleongtang is described in Byeolgeongon, a popular magazine from the 1920s: "A hearty soup is served in an earthen bowl with Kkadugi. Spoon in some scallion and red pepper flakes, season with salt and enjoy! Words cannot express the taste and nothing compares to the flavor. Even the pickiest eaters will not be able to resist Seolleongtang." When you order a bowl of Seolleontang at a restaurant, it will arrive almost instantly since it is simply ladled out of the pot into the bowl. No wonder the dish is a favorite among busy office workers.
'Sseonnondan' becomes 'Seollengtang'
During the Joseon period, the most admired king in Korean history, King Sejong the Great, once performed a sacrificial rite at Seonnondan (the altar of agriculture) and ploughed the field as a demonstration to the people. Suddenly, a heavy rainstorm struck and the king was unable to return to the royal court. To relieve the king's hunger, the local people butchered an ox and served a soup made by boiling it in plain water. It is said that this later evolved to become 'Seolleongtang.'
Ingredients & Quantity
1 kg ox-knee bone, 600g gristle, 200g beef (brisket), 200g beef (shank)
700g ox-tongue - 5kg (25 cups) precleaning water
7kg (35 cups) boiling water
fragrant seasoning: 30g green onion, 65g garlic, 20g ginger, 50g onion
seasonings: 40g green onion, 8g (2/3 tbsp) salt, 0.3 (1/8 tsp) ground black pepper
1. Wash and clem ox-knee bone, gristle and ox-tongue, soak in water for 5-6 hours draw out the blood.
2. Wipe blood of brisket and shank with cotton cloths. Wash fragrant seasoning cleanly.
3. Trim and wash vegetables for fragrant seasoning and green onion cleanly. Chop green onion finely.
1. Pour water in the pot and heat it up for 10 min. on hight heat. When it boils, add ox-knee bone, gristle and ox-tongue, and boil it for 5min. for pre cleaning, then discard boiling water.
2. Put water, ox-knee bone and gristle in the pot, boil it for 1 hour on high heat. Then lower the heat to medium, simmer it for 5 hours while skim the foam and fats. Add ox-tongue, brisket and shank in the pot, boil for 1 hour. Add the fragrant seasoning, boil for 1 hour, then boil it for another 30 min. after reduce the heat to low.
3. When ox-tongue and beef are well-done, take them out from the broth, cut into3cm-wide, 4cm-long and 0.2cm-thick. Cool down the broth, skim fats and boil for 10min. on high heat.
4. Place the cut beef in a bowl, pour broth and serve with seasonings.
A version of this article by 'Korean Food Foundation' Great Food, Great Stories from Korea, and 'Hollym' The Beauty of Korean Food: With 100 Best-Loved Recipes.
- The Beauty of Korean Food: With 100 Best-Loved Recipes/ Hollym & Great Food, Great Stories from Korea/ Korean Food Foundation
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