Thursday, October 7, 2021

[Food] Seonjitguk (Ox Blood Soup, 선짓국)


[Food] Seonjitguk (Ox Blood Soup, 선짓국)

There are many world foods and cuisines that use the blood of livestock such as pig, cow or sheep. From Greece, Finland and Sweden to Mongolia, China and Korea, there are various dishes that use blood - sausages, pudding and soup.

Koreans started eating beef since ancient times, 'Seonjiguk (Ox Blood Soup, 선짓국)' is one of them. 'Seonji' is the fresh blood of ox, and this word comes from 'Seongi', which means 'blood' in Mongolian. Although we don't know how this word came and settled in Korea to mean 'ox blood', people love eating fresh ox blood.

It looks like a dark, red chocolate chunk or a huge bouncy pudding, but it's actually freshly coagulated ox's blood that can be easily broken, even with one's little finger. If it's not fresh, it smells of blood and iron which is very yucky. So people usually add black pepper powder to remove the smell.

Despite its look and smell, it is nutritiously helpful for women and elderly people because it contains plentiful sources of iron, potassium (kalium) and protein while remaining low in fat and carbohydrates. So it can be eaten as a healthy diet benefitting weight loss. However, it contains high cholesterol so it's best not eat for people with hyperlipidemia.

People usually eat seonjitguk as a type of haejangguk (Korean hangover soup) in speciality haejangguk restaurants after heavy drinking. Korean cooks put bean sprouts, gochujang (Korean red chili paste), doenjang (Korean bean paste), red chili powder and spring onion with ox blood to cook seonjitguk.

Luckily, ox blood is a very cheap part of cow meat compared to beef and bones, and it has an unique bloody taste and smell with a soft and bouncy texture. So people with a weak stomach and children often don't want to eat seonjitguk though it is a very cheap and healthy dish. If you visit a traditional Korean market, seonjitguk usually costs 4,500 ~ 9,000 Korean Won, equivalent to 4.5~9 dollars. So it has been a good friend for ordinary folks in Korea since its birth. Some restaurants with beef speciality often serve seonjitguk for free because, again, it's cheap.

Beef Tartar Bibimbab with Seonjitguk 

If you consider yourself a true meat-lover, how about challenging yourself by sampling Korean seonjitguk? You may like it :)

Bon Appétit! 

1 comment:

  1. This seems to be a recipe filled with good and wholesome nutrients.