Korean Radish Soup (Muguk)

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I am leaving home for a short business trip later today. My husband will be home alone, so yesterday I made two kinds of basic Korean soup for him to eat while I am gone. You guessed it. He does not cook. Thankfully, he does the dishes and keeps the kitchen organized since I am not really good at it. The first soup I made was a soybean sprout soup (kongnamul guk,콩나물국). The other one is this radish soup (mu guk or muguk, 무국) made with a beef broth. 

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Korean radish, mu (무), tastes best during late fall and winter. They are juicy and slightly sweet. Buy one that is firm and heavy.

I used a quick method that’s common in Korean cooking to make a beef soup base. See another method in my tteokguk (떡국) recipe. The thinly sliced beef is seasoned with Korean soup soy sauce and sautéed before being boiled in water. The result is a broth with deep flavors that deliciously complements the white radish.

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Korean Radish Soup (Muguk)

4.5 from 22 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Print Recipe


  • 12 ounces Korean radish, mu, 무
  • 2 scallions
  • 6 ounces beef brisket, chuck, or loin
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons Korean soup soy sauce, guk ganjang, 국간장 (see note) See note
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Cut the beef into thin bite size pieces (1 to 1 1/2 inch). Marinate with 1 tablespoon of soup soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of garlic, a pinch of pepper, and 1 teaspoon of sesame oil. Set aside.
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  • Cut the radish into bite size pieces (1 to 1 1/2-inch square, about 1/4-inch thick). Cut the scallions into 1 to 1-1/2-inch pieces.
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  • In a medium pot, sauté the beef until all the pieces turn brown. Pour in 8 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Skim off the foam. Reduce the heat to medium high and continue to boil, covered, for 10 minutes.
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  • Add the radish pieces and boil, covered, until the radish turns translucent and soft, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining teaspoon of the garlic, scallions, and the remaining tablespoon of the soup soy sauce. The soup should not look too dark. Taste for salt and pepper. Boil for an additional 5 minutes.
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Do not substitute with regular soy sauce. It will be too sweet and dark. A better substitute is fish sauce, which is sometimes used in Korean soups.
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