Gamjatang – Pork Neckbone and Potato Soup

감자탕 Gamjatang is a hearty tasty soup with rich deep flavor. True Korean “comfort food”, each household has it’s own slightly different take on this traditional dish.

Servings: 8


Par boil

4 pounds Pork neck or spine bones

8 cups water

Simmer Ingredients

Spine bones from first boil

6 cloves garlic

2 large green onions (white only – reserve the green for the final stage)

1 ounce ginger

8 cups water


Spine bones and broth from Simmer Step

8 small young boiling potatoes (round red potatoes)

12 cloves garlic

Cabbage Par Boil

8 each Napa cabbage leaves (outer and second layer leaves)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Seasoning Paste

2 tablespoons coarse ground dried red chili pepper

2 tablespoons fine ground red chili pepper

6 cloves garlic

1/2 ounce ginger

1 1/2 tablespoon rice wine

1 tablespoon anchovy sauce

3 tablespoons water


4 ounces radish greens

2 ounces mung bean sprouts

1/2 bunch perilla (shiso) leaves (12 leaves)

2 hot green chili peppers

Parboiled cabbage leaves

Seasoning paste

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon doenjang (Korean miso)


Par Boil:

Rinse the bones well in cold water, then cover and soak for about 2 hours.

Drain the bones and rinse again in cold water.

Place the bones in a stock pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat.

Boil for five minutes, remove from heat, drain, and rinse again.

Simmer Step:

Slice the garlic in half from top to bottom.

Slice the ginger in medium slices.

Cut the onion white in half from top to bottom.

Cover the bones in 8 cups water, add simmer ingredients, and bring to a slow simmer over med low heat.

Simmer uncovered for two hours, adding more water as needed to maintain 3/4 the original volume.

Potato Prep:

Rinse the potatoes well in cold water.

Bring a second pot of water to a boil, add the potatoes, and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove from heat, drain, and rinse in cold water, then peel when cool enough to handle.

Cabbage leaves:

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and cabbage, and boil 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, drain, and rinse in cold water.

Bean Sprouts, Chili peppers, onion green, and Perilla Leaves:

Rinse the bean sprouts in cold water, removing the root tails and any green or brown shells around the heads.

Remove stems from chili peppers then cut into slices on a diagonal.

Chop the onion greens.

Rinse the Perilla leaves in cold water, then cut into narrow strips lengthwise.

Seasoning Paste:

Peel the garlic and ginger then place in a blender with the water and liquify.

Mix all paste ingredients together in a small bowl and let stand for at least fifteen minutes to let flavors develop.

Sesame Seeds:

Place the sesame seeds into a dry pan over medium heat.

Cook until seeds are a light golden brown, shaking or stirring often.

Remove from heat and let cool.

Crush seeds in a mortar, pulse in a blender, or powder in a coffee grinder.


Remove the pot with the neck bones from heat.

Carefully take the bones out of the pot with tongs or a slotted spoon and set aside.

Remove remaining vegetable matter from the broth and discard.

Strain the broth into another pot.

Return the bones to the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.

Add the potatoes, doenjang paste, and the seasoning paste, then boil until potatoes are done (a chopstick or fork can pass through with little resistance).

Add the Bean Sprouts, pepper, cabbage leaves, Perilla strips, sesame powder, and the sliced chili peppers and cook another five minutes.

Sprinkle with chopped onion greens and serve hot with steamed white rice and kimchi.