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Koreans Have Discovered a Cure for Hangovers — This Soup

Put down the coconut water and make haejangguk instead.

Sam Horine

We all know the feeling. Muscle aches, bouts of thirst, sensitivity to light and sound. Yep, it’s your hangover. While habit has some searching for the closest Taylor Ham and glass of coconut water — fingers crossed — Koreans, it turns out, discovered their own cure centuries ago: a soup called Haejangguk that’s rich in electrolytes and B vitamins, two things thought to tackle the symptoms associated with heavy drinking. “Haejangguk literally means ‘hangover soup’ and works as a way to getting your body back to level playing field,” write Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard in their new cookbook Koreatown ($20). “The broth is rich and unquestionably beefy, but not over-the-top spicy.” Though modern variations of the soup call for coagulated blood and chunks of oxtail meat, the duo have simplified the recipe for home cooks, which is focused on developing a vegetable- and a protein-filled broth. Make a big batch before your next night out. When the morning rolls around, you’ll be thankful that you did.


Serves 4 to 6

2 heads of baby napa cabbage (about 1 pound each)
3 tablespoons of doenjang
2 tablespoons of gochugaru
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
3/4 cup of bean sprouts
1/2 cup of sliced zucchini
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 Korean red chili pepper, thinly sliced
1 Anaheim chili pepper, thinly sliced
5 cups of beef stock

1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set it nearby. Blanch both whole cabbages for one minute, then drain and drop them into the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and cut each into 2-inch pieces.

2. In a large bowl, combine the doenjang, gochugaru, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the blanched cabbage, bean sprouts, zucchini, scallion and chile peppers and mix well. Allow to marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.

3. Transfer the contents of the mixing bowl back to the emptied blanching pot and add the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower to a simmer for 10 minutes. Serve.

Reprinted from Koreatown: A Cookbook. Copyright © 2016 by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Sam Horine. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

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