Korean Seaweed Soup
KOREAN SEAWEED SOUP Miyeokguk SERVES 4
When I have a food craving—whether it’s for fried chicken or kale salad—I try to allow my body to lead the way. Luckily, much of what I crave, like this vitamin-packed seaweed soup, is also healthy and healing. In Korean culture, this soup is a must for new mothers. Seaweed, a great source of calcium, iodine, fiber, omega acids, and vitamins B1 and B3, has innumerable postpartum health benefits such as metabolism regulation, blood purification, constipation relief, and detoxification. Instead of plain water, nutrient-packed milky, rice-washed water is used to enrich the soup. Because this soup is a rite of passage for new mothers, Koreans also eat it on birthdays to commemorate their mothers, as birthdays are always a day to celebrate mom!
1 ounce dried wakame seaweed
2 cups uncooked short- or medium-grain rice
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil, plus more for seasoning
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
9 ounces beef stew meat, cubed
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Rinse the seaweed thoroughly under cool running water. Then submerge it in a bowl of cool water and leave it for at least 30 minutes, until it has softened. Drain well and set aside.
Combine the rice with 8 cups of water in a large bowl, and stir together. Then drain the rice through a sieve set over another large bowl, catching the milky water in the bowl. Set the drained rice aside to use in another dish.
Heat the sesame oil in a large pot set over medium heat. Add the garlic, and stir-fry for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the beef and stir-fry until it is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add the drained seaweed and sauté for another 3 minutes.
Add the reserved rice water, the sea salt, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, skimming the fat from the surface as it cooks, and reducing the liquid to concentrate the soup’s nutritional impact. Drizzle additional sesame oil onto each portion before serving.