Monday, April 26, 2010

Miyeok Guk (Korean Seaweed Soup)



Miyeok guk is a soup made with miyeok (also known as wakame) which is a variety of sea vegetable or seaweed. It is a mild and tasty soup typically made with beef broth or seafood (such as clams or mussels) based broth. More so than other Korean dishes, this soup has a special significance to Koreans. In Korean culture, miyeok guk is traditionally associated with birth. Korean mothers traditionally eat this soup for weeks after giving birth since it has long been believed to contain nutrients that help with a mother's recovery after giving birth and the production of breast milk. It is the first meal my mother ate when I was born, and it was the first one I ate upon giving birth to my two children. Due to its symbolic association with birth, miyeok guk is the soup most Koreans eat on their birthdays. I made it for my mother on her birthday a few days ago, which was a very special day because only a few months ago we were struck with grief at the thought of losing her. I used mussels in this recipe, which is my mother's favorite.

4-5 servings
Ingredients
:
1 oz dried miyeok (yields about 2 cups soaked)
10 mussels
2 garlic minced
6 cups water
1 tablespoon soup soy sauce (gukganjang)
1 tablespoon sesame oil*
salt and pepper
(*Do not substitute. Sesame oil is a key ingredient in authentic miyeok guk. It adds a nutty flavor with a hint of sweetness when it blends with miyeok.)

Soak the dried miyeok for about 30 minutes. Rinse 2 or 3 times, squeezing or kneading after each rinse (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.

In a large pot, sauté the miyeok with the sesame oil, soy sauce and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes over medium high heat. Add water and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and boil for 15 minutes. Drop the mussels in. Add salt and pepper to taste. Boil for an additional 5 minutes.

(Note: Miyeok guk is commonly made with beef. I usually make the beef broth first, add the sautéed miyeok and then boil for 15 minutes over medium heat. See my tteokguk recipe for instructions on making the beef broth. For a quicker version, cut the beef into thin bite size pieces and sauté with the miyeok. Add water and boil for 20 minutes over medium heat. )

18 comments:

  1. Miyeok guk, sam kye tang,... It's sooo good to be Korean. You can practically enjoy all sorts of food even when you are sick.

    Mum used to make this for me when I'm sick. Such a good way to replace all the sweat I lost. I have a medical theory that this soup will increase your metabolism too; hence help you lose weight faster.

    Delish!

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  2. My family loves this soup too. This is one of the regular items I take to my kids when I visit them. It freezes and travels really well in little freezer bags. No doubt it is healthful! Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Goodness! I love everything in this soup and I REALLY wish someone had told me about it when I just became a mother! I had such a hard time breastfeeding my first son! I will definitely try this soon as I can't get enough of mussels, though I haven't seen any good enough to take home lately. Thanks for another great recipe :)

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  4. Denise, well you know now what to do when the second one comes! But this soup is good anytime. I make this soup almost every other week, and eat for 2 or 3 days. I never get tired of it. Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. I love Korean food and your recipes always tempt me to try them out, even though I'm not a very good cook! Thanks for sharing :)

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  6. 검색중에 효선님 블로그에 방문하게 되었습니다.
    눈이 즐겁고 입이 즐겁고 마음또한 훈훈해 지는
    음식들이네요. 저도 홍합을 넣은 시원한 미역국 참 좋아해요. 자주자주 와서 멋진 레서피와 사진 구경할께요.
    Thank you for your warm recipe!!

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  7. Vera - You're welcome! Thank you so much for being a frequent visitor and leaving nice words! Hope you try some of the recipes and enjoy.

    Namoo - You're welcome! Wow - such nice words in Korean. Thank you for stopping by!

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  8. Ahha! I understand now...

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  9. Perfect! Lately I've been obsessed with seaweed and how they are so good for us at the same time delicious! YAY another recipe found! i like the mussel touch...lol sounds funny
    Thank you,
    CookNg Sisters

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  10. Thank you for checking out my recipe! Hope you try my recipe and enjoy it. Let me know how it turns out if you do.

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  11. Very lovely dish and story! I think I'll make it for my mum this coming Mother's day :) Is it ok if I use Japanese wakame? As I don't think I can find miyeok here

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  12. Min - Sure, you can use Japanese wakame for this soup. Hope it turns out well for you. Thanks.

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  13. Thanks so much for the seaweed soup recipe. Just made it with mussels for the first time - delicious! Was invited to a friend's son's 1st birthday and loved the soup they served. I read seaweed is very nutritious for you and so are mussels. Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ariel! Glad to hear it turned out delicious. It's really healthy and one of my favorite soups.

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  14. AnonymousJune 25, 2013

    Will it be ok to use oysters?

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    Replies
    1. Definitely! It will be different but still great. Thanks.

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  15. I LOVE your authentic korean recipes. One of the very few blogs that have authentic recipes, the others are more americanized.

    I wanted to ask, I want to make this with the beef. Do I make the beef broth following your tteokguk recipe, cooking for 1- 1 1/2 hour and then sautee the miyuk after the broth is done then follow your recipe here?

    It would be great if you posted a recipe for miyuk gook with beef :)

    Thank you for all your recipes. I am always on your site looking for recipes.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! Yes, that's how you do it, which is my preferred method. You can also use a quicker method to make a beef soup base. See my mu guk recipe. Basically, thinly slice the beef and season with Korean soup soy sauce. Sautée the beef a little, add the miyuk and follow this recipe, except for the mussel part. I hope to post the beef version soon. Enjoy!

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