Thursday, January 19, 2012

Low-Carb Korean Gomtang (beef soup)

Serves 8, your time = 20mins, cooking time = 4-6 hours.
One serving contains 16.5g protein, 4.7g carbs and 1.2g of fiber for 3.5g of net carbs
This Korean Gomtang beef soup is filling, healthy, low-carb and easy to cook.

I found this recipe in Chang, Sun-youns’s fantastic book called A Korean Mothers Cooking Notes. I purchased my copy on my first trip to Korea after falling in love with the people and their cuisine. My Korean college helped me choose, advising that it was indeed full of authentic and popular Korean dishes. It is available on Amazon in hardback and softback.

The magic of this soup is the Korean Radish called Mu. I’m lucky, there is a big Korean community in LA and the surrounding area so I don’t have to go too far to find it but try Asian markets in your area.

In the west we think of radish as a very strong tasting vegetable but Korean White radish is very mild and once cooked in soup I challenge a westerner to even identify the big white chunks of vegetable in the soup as radish. It looks and has the substance of potato but only has 5g of carbohydrates and 2g of fiber for 3 net carbs per cup!


  • 1 pound of beef, players choice on cut.
  • 1 gallon water (16 cups)
  • 1 Korean white radish (should give 3-4 cups when diced)
  • 1 cup of chopped green onions (spring onions)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds

The original recipe says

  1. Place meet and water in a big pot over medium heat and skim froth occasionally. 
  2. Peal the radish and cut into cubes
  3. When beef is cooked (does not bleed when poked) add radish and cook for another 3 hours
  4. Remove radish and meet and set aside
  5. Season soup with soy sauce and salt
  6. Slice the beef and radish into strips and season with soy sauce, black pepper, sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, onions and garlic.
  7. Add that all back into the soup and simmer until flavorful..

I tried that, then I tried to do it all in my slow cooker and found the results to be very similar but the effort much less. So this is how I now do it

  1. Cut beef and radish into chunks
  2. Make a marinade with the other ingredients and divide it evenly into two Ziploc bags.
  3. Put the beef in one and the radish in the other and marinade for at least an hour.
  4. Add the water (hot) and the contents of the beef bag to the water in the slow cooker.
  5. 1 hour later add the contents of the other bag
  6. Slow cook for 3-4 hours and it’s done.

I divide it up into 8 single serving containers and freeze it. It makes a quick easy and filling lunch or dinner when I don’t want to cook.