If I had to name my favorite soup, it would be miyeok guk. I make it 2 to 3 times a month, eat it for a couple of meals and then freeze the rest to eat again later. Miyeok guk is made with dried miyeok (aka wakame), which is a sea vegetable (edible seaweed). I love the briny flavor of miyeok and its slightly chewy, slippery texture. As I explained in my previous miyeok guk post, this staple soup also is the soup that new moms eat for the first few weeks after giving birth because of the nutrients contained in miyeok that help with recovery and the production of breast milk. In Korea, this soup is part of the hospital diet for new moms. If you're in America, your Korean mother (or mother-in-law) probably brought a big insulated jar of it to the hospital to feed you after your childbirth. Because of this soup's association with childbirth, it's also a Korean tradition to eat miyeok guk on birthdays.
The recipe I posted over 3 years ago was made with mussels. Here, I made it with beef. There are two common ways to make a Korean beef soup base. The method I used here is the quicker method. The thinly sliced beef is seasoned with soup soy sauce and sautéed before being boiled in water. The other method boils the big chunk of meat with aromatic vegetables for a long time until tender. The meat is then shredded and added to the soup. I often use the latter method for a deeper flavor when I have time. See my tteokguk recipe for instructions for making the beef broth using the longer method. For Korean beef soups, brisket (양지머리, yangjimeori) is the best cut to use. While the brisket takes longer to cook than some other cuts, the resulting broth is much more flavorful.
1.5 ounces dried miyeok (yields about 3 cups soaked)
5 ounces beef (brisket or stew meat)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons soup soy sauce (gukganjang)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
salt and pepper
10 cups water
Soak the dried miyeok for about 30 minutes. Rinse 2 or 3 times thoroughly. Drain after each rinse, and squeeze or knead (as if you are working with bread dough) to remove excess salt used in the drying process and rinse off any hidden sand. Drain well, and cut into bite sizes.
Cut the beef into thin bite size pieces. Marinate with 1 tablespoon of soup soy sauce, garlic, and a pinch of pepper.
Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Sauté the meat with the sesame oil just until the meat is no longer red.
Add miyeok and 1 tablespoon of soup soy sauce, and continue to sauté for 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the water, and bring it to a boil. Skim off any scum. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to medium low. Boil, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes until the meat is tender and the broth is slightly milky.