Seaweed Soup (Miyeok Guk - 미역국)
Updated: Aug 7, 2020
My kid's taekwondo teacher (@joinimpacttkd) just had a baby🥳🥳🥳 so I made his wife some miyeok guk (seaweed soup).
New Korean moms are supposed to eat miyeok guk for every meal for the first month after birth to help with recovery (my wife made it about two weeks).
Because of this birth connection, it's a tradition to eat miyeok guk ("mee yeok") on your birthday. Also, because it's slippery, it's supposed to help get rid of bad luck for your new year (or something like that).
Eating seaweed is not something that I would have ever considered normal before meeting my wife, but this simple soup made me a convert. If you're new to Korean food, this might be a good way to get familiar with Korean flavors and styles of cooking. It has a different flavor profile than western style dishes, but isn't as daunting or pungent as some other well known Korean soups (like soy bean paste soup).
Miyeok guk is light and full of nutrients (seaweed is incredibly good for you). The taste isn't really oceany or fishy like you might expect, but the seaweed does make it a bit salty, so you don't need much additional seasoning. It's beefed up, literally, by adding chunks of steak which make it a meal instead of a side.
Our kids love miyeok guk. Honestly, it's the healthiest thing that we don't have to fight with them to eat. They pick out the meat so they can get more seaweed, which is more than okay with me.
Serve it with rice and a little kimchi.
I've made this a lot, between having 3 kids and celebrating multiple birthdays every year. The secret is anchovy sauce. It adds a richness and depth of flavor that you can't get from soy sauce alone.
A handful of miyeok (seaweed) may not look like much dried but it expands quite a bit when soaked in water. I also chop the soaked miyeok into bite sized pieces...I love this soup, but nothing is worse than trying to chew a giant hunk of seaweed.
Also, this recipe uses soup soy sauce, or guk gangjang. This is different than normal dark soy sauce - it's lighter in color, and saltier. It has a more subtle flavor.
The recipe is easy - Give it a try!
Finally - this recipe is for about 1 lb of steak. You may need to adjust measurements if making a larger batch. Taste the soup after you blend everything together and add more anchovy sauce or soy sauce to get the right flavor.
(The video is 2 lbs of steak with 8 cups of water)
1 lb flank steak (or sirloin)
2 TBS of soup soy sauce (guk gangjang)
1 TBS of anchovy sauce
1 TBS of minced garlic
2 TBS of sesame oil
1 handful of miyeok (dried Korean seaweed)
Soak a handful of miyeok for 30 minutes
Chop 1lb flank steak into bite sized cubes
Drain seaweed, lightly squeeze out excess water and chop.
Put 2 teaspoons of oil in a stock pot and add 1 TBS of garlic
Add meat and brown the steak
Add 2 TBS of soup soy sauce, 1 TBS of anchovy sauce, and 2 TBS of sesame oil
Add chopped seaweed and saute
Add 4 cups of water and let cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat
Depending on how big your steak is, you will need to add more water and/or seasoning