April 25th is my husband’s birthday.
Koreans don’t usually have parties to celebrate their birthday, but a Korean birthday will not be complete without miyeok guk (Korean seaweed soup) for breakfast or lunch, and of course drinking with family or friends during or after dinner.
On Wednesday, I woke up a bit earlier to prepare miyeok guk for my husband. Miyeok guk is usually prepared for women who are pregnant or have given birth. Miyeok or seaweed is rich in calcium and iodine which are both essential for nursing mothers. It is prepared on somebody’s birthday as a reminder of the first food that the mother has eaten and passed on to her child through her milk. It is believed that once you eat miyeok guk on your birthday, you will have good fortune for the whole year.
Korean parents also cook this soup for their children when they have an exam the next day. Because of its high nutritional value, miyeok guk is said to boost brain function.
How is miyeok guk prepared?
First, you will need the following ingredients: (Good for 5 servings)
- a pack of dried seaweed (You can buy a pack that indicates how many servings.)
- 80 grams minced or shredded beef
- a few dried anchovies (for the broth)
- 6 cups of water
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 tbsp soy sauce (guk kanjang)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Soak miyeok in water. My husband likes his miyeok very soft, so I soak the seaweed overnight. (As the seaweed takes up water, it grows in size and becomes softer.)
- Wash the miyeok twice or thrice, and drain it afterwards.
- If the seaweed is long, cut into smaller pieces. (You can buy miyeok that’s already cut, so you don’t have to do the third step.)
- Season the beef with sesame oil, salt and pepper.
- In a pot, pour 6 cups of water. Let the water boil. Make your broth using dried anchovies. DO NOT DROP the anchovies in the water. Use a strainer.
- Pre heat the saucepan over medium heat. Add cooking oil, minced garlic and beef. Stir for 2 minutes or until beef is tender or slightly brown.
- Add miyeok and soy sauce. Stir again for a minute or two.
- Pour in the broth. (DO NOT INCLUDE THE ANCHOVIES. Discard them once the broth is tasty enough.)
- Bring the soup to a boil over medium heat. Cover, but open the lid a little, so the soup won’t drain.
- Let the soup simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. (Sometimes, I add more soy sauce.)
That’s it. Enjoy a delicious and nutritious Korean soup. ^^
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