According to the historical record “Chohakgi” China’s Tang Dynasty, Goryeo people started to serve seaweed to women during postnatal care after learning that whales nibble at the sea plant to heal after delivering a calf. Another ancient document entitled “Bonchogangmok,” or Compendium of Materia Medica, indicated that Goryeo people enjoyed seaweed and referred to it as “Goryeo haetae.” Thanks to its excellent detoxifying efficacy, women used to have seaweed soup after childbirth. Based on traditional customs, the soup was also dedicated to the three-god spirits who are known to govern childbirth and bless the newborn baby. People in the olden days used to pray for safe labor by placing seaweed soup by the pregnant woman’s pillow for about a week before the expected delivery day. Therefore, miyeokguk is an important Korean cuisine that symbolizes birth.
Main Ingredients :
70 g dried seaweed, 200 g beef brisket, 2 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp soup soy sauce, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 5 cups water
Spices :Seasoning spices:
1 tbsp sesame oil, some soup soy sauce or a pinch of salt
Wash dried seaweed in water and soak for about 1-2 hours. Rinse well. Squeeze out water, and cut into 3-cm-long pieces. Slice beef brisket into pieces 2-cm-wide, 3-cm-long, and 0.5-cm-thick. Season them with condiments (2 tsp sesame oil and 1 tsp soup soy sauce). Stir-fry beef pieces in a pot with 2 tbsp of water. When 2/3 of the meat is cooked, add moistened seaweed slices and minced garlic. Simmer for about 20 minutes over medium high gas. Reduce to low flame and simmer for another 20 minutes. Flavor the soup with soup soy sauce.
☑ Use beef brisket which is chewy and has the right amount of fat.
☑ If you can’t get hold of soup soy sauce, salt can be substituted to flavor the soup.
☑ When stir-frying seasoned beef pieces, the key point is to add 2 tbsp of water to prevent them burning.
☑ Beef can be replaced with dried mussels or oysters to cook delicious seaweed soup.
Kim Su-jin: Hansik Researcher
- Director of Association for Research on Taste of Korea
- Head Director of Food & Culture Korea Academy
- Nation’s First Film Food Director
(Major works: “Ssanghwajeom”, “The Painter of Wind”, “King and the Clown”, “Best Chef”)