Monday, January 31, 2011

Miyukgook (미역국)

Besides dairy, my other favorite food group has to be seafood. As I try to incorporate more fish into my diet, I also try to add other items such as seaweed. A main dish that features seaweed is Miyukguk (미역국), one of my favorite soups. It's traditionally eaten on one's birthday, but you can also eat it whenever you'd like.

Whenever I tried to make Miyukgook, it tasted alright, but never like the way my mom made it, so I finally asked her. There was a secret step that I missed: sauteing the seaweed in sesame oil. It made all the difference and I was finally able to have a taste of home 400 miles away. I don't make this as often as I'd like as some do not appreciate the smell of seaweed as much as I do. But there are times when I really crave it, so I just turn the kitchen fan on high.

There are several ways you can make this soup. My mom always makes homemade beef broth and puts in pieces of beef into the soup. But you can also make it with mussels. Just toss in several cooked pieces per serving when you're sauteing the seaweed. And if you don't want any of that and want just plain ol' seaweed, then you can leave even the mussels out. I did it that way and it still tastes great. When dried seaweed has been soaked in water, it balloons in size, so even though 1/2 oz may not seem like a lot, look at it again after you have soaked it at least overnight. If you don't have access to a kitchen scale, just use two handfuls of dried seaweed and then determine if you'd like more or less the next time you make it.

Miyuk Gook

Miyukgook (미역국)

- 1/2 oz dried seaweed
- 3 pieces mussel meat (optional)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 3-inch square dashi
- 5 cups water

1. In a bowl, soak the dried seaweed in cold water for at least 12 hours.
2. Drain soaking water and fill bowl with water again. Squeeze the seaweed a couple times to soften. Rinse and drain the seaweed 3 times. Cut long pieces of seaweed into shorter pieces.
3. Heat pot to medium-high heat. Add sesame oil, seaweed, and mussels and saute for a few minutes.
4. Add water and dashi and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.
5. Discard dashi and serve!

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