Bukeoguk (dried pollack soup)

Bukeoguk is a soup made with dried pollack. Depending on the process used to dry the fish, dried pollack is usually called bukeo or hwangtae. You can use either one for this soup. Dried pollack keeps well for a long time and can be rehydrated very quickly by soaking it in warm water. Keep a bag of shredded bukeo (or hwangtae) in your pantry. It comes in handy for a quick soup or side dish. 

The unique flavor of the dried fish makes the soup very flavorful but not fishy. Dried pollack is a rich source of proteins and amino acids and is known to have detoxifying effects. This explains why bukeoguk is very popular as a hangover remedy in Korea. 

You can make a simple version with eggs and scallions, but it’s common to add Korean radish, potatoes, soybean sprouts or dubu (tofu). Bukeoguk is a quick and easy soup that’s perfect for cold winter days! 

Ingredients:

● 60 grams of dried pollack (bukeo or hwangtae) strips ― 1 cup packed after being soaked and squeezed 

● 1 medium-sized potato (or equivalent amount of Korean radish) 

● 150 grams of dubu (tofu) 

● 2 scallions

● 2 teaspoons of sesame oil

● 1 teaspoon of minced garlic

● 1 tablespoon of soup soy sauce (gukganjang)

● 1 egg, lightly beaten

● Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse and soak the dried pollack strips in warm water until they become softened, about 20 minutes. Drain, setting aside the water used for soaking. Lightly squeeze out the water, and tear the strips into bite-size pieces. 

Cut the potato in half lengthwise, and slice into thin half-moon shapes. Cut tofu and scallions into bite-size pieces.

In a heated medium pot, saute the pollack in the sesame oil (about 2 to 3 minutes) over medium-high heat. Lightly season with salt. (If using Korean radish, saute it with the pollock.) 

Add 6 cups of water, including the water used to soak the pollack, and soy sauce to the pot. Bring it to a boil, covered. Reduce the heat to medium, and continue to boil for 7 to 8 minutes. Add the potatoes, tofu and garlic. Increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until potatoes are cooked, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the potatoes. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add the scallions, and drizzle the beaten egg over the boiling soup. Turn the heat off as soon as the scallions are slightly wilted.