Miyeokguk - A Korean Tradition


Miyeokguk is one of my favorite Korean dishes. It literally translates to seaweed (miyeok) soup (guk). Koreans usually eat/drink it for birthdays and during and post pregnancy. Seaweed has a high content of Iodine and Calcium that are both important for nursing mothers. The soup is made with meat (beef) which means it is also a good source of iron. In Taiwanese culture, our post-labor one month healing process revolves around our diet. The one month is dedicated to helping the mother heal and replenish blood and energy. From what I've heard and seen, moms and families use different recipes and food sources to replenish the body, but the ultimate goal is to keep the body warm and encourage healing from within. 

My mom has done the one-month-healing process twice so far. Once with me when I had S and once with my little sister when she gave birth to my nephew. The way my mom does it in short is a pain-in-the-behind hahaha and my mom whines all the time about doing it because it really is so much trouble. She's getting ready to do it an unexciting third time - my sister is expecting a little girl in January (the grand-daughter part is super exciting. We all can't wait to meet her)! My mom is a vegetarian, but for our sakes, she has to clean and chop liver, kidney and all kinds of meat on a daily basis. Our husbands were delivery guys during the first few days we were still in the hospital and they bring food back and forth between the house and the hospital. So when I heard that Koreans mainly drink miyeokguk for their version of the one-month-healing process, I was like "no way!". If a whole culture that focuses so much on outer beauty and are so good at it believes that this soup can do wonders, then I must look into it! Plus like I said, I love drinking the soup. I literally go to Korean BBQ buffet just so I can get unlimited helpings of this stuff. Lucky for me, my sister married into a Korean family and her sweet mother-in-law was kind enough to cook it very very slowly while we took a bajillion pictures so that we can share this simple yet awesome recipe with you good people. ENJOY!

INGREDIENTS: Prep time approx. 30 min

40g - dry seaweed

200g - beef (cut into little cubes)

1400ml - water

3 Tbs - fish sauce

1/2 Tbs - sesame oil

2 Tbs - dry mussels

1/4 cup - dry shrimp

4 cloves garlic (or more if you like garlic)

Add 1 cup water and stir...

(above image) add the rest of the water (for soup) and bring to boil. Lower heat to medium low heat and allow to simmer.

Finally, add 1 TBS fish sauce (plus or minus depending on desired saltiness).

A giant thank you to my sister's mother-in-law Elizabeth Lee (I call her Umma Lee) for her patience and generosity sharing this recipe. :) xoxo

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