August 10, 2014

Why do Koreans slurp seaweed soup on birthdays?

Seaweed soup in Korean is called Mi-yeok Guk - 
'Mi-yeok'  meaning seaweed and 'Guk'  meaning soup.  
Seaweed soup is made from a sea vegetable known as 'wakame'  
or sometimes called sea mustard.  Seaweed contains a super
high concentration of iodine and calcium which are super important
especially to nursing mothers. Many Korean women consume
seaweed soup during pregnancy so that their newborn receives
the nutrition through breastfeeding.... 

AND that's why Koreans prepare and eat seaweed soup
on birthdays. It's a reminder of the first food they consumed
through their mothers, thus bringing good fortune for the rest
of the year.  

It's not too difficult to make either. (As long as you can get to 
an Asian supermarket) Seaweed is sold dried so you will have to 
soak it in water first so it bloats up. 
Make sure you rinse it several times because it does 
come from the sea and even though it's dried- often times 
it's actually dried by the sand area.

You can use anchovies for the broth or I actually prefer beef. 
Any cut of beef is ok to use in making the broth. 
I often dice up or give the beef a rough chop
so it's a little tender and in smaller pieces.

I take a TBSP of sesame oil and 3 TBSP of soy sauce and saute the beef first. 
Then I add one whole onion (medium size) sliced up to give it more flavor. 
Once the onion has cooked a little (5-7 minutes) I add water and fill the pot. 
I then add the bloated and already wet seaweed into the pot.
Let it come to a boil and then turn it to a medium low and let it simmer
for a bit. (minimum 30 minutes) The broth will turn into a yellowy-greenish
hue from the seaweed. That's when you know it's ready and it will 
taste good. You can add a little more salt & pepper at the table. 
Seaweed soup is more often than not eaten with a small bowl of rice.

Zestfully Let's Cultivate Food.........  day 10 of 31 days