diary of a mad foodie: how to make korean seaweed soup aka miyeok kuk or nicely said ~ sea vegetable soup globally inspired!
dried seaweed: not your everyday dime store visitor......
submerged in tap water: resurfing back to the sea.....options are endless now
mermaid left her garter belt on my kitchen counter
If you were ever wondering how to cook with seaweed or *ahem* sea vegetables, I thought to share a bit of insight with you. I reiterate the term sea vegetables because of previous reactionary comments from people that are not familiar with the fab quality, taste + nutritious value of seaweed.
When I first made a pot of Korean seaweed soup, also known as miyeok kuk for my in-laws and others......I didn't find them too responsive to it.
With that in mind, I began a quest to develop a recipe that would be more inviting to the timid palate yet still retain its intensity and savory appeal. That seems to be my motto......retaining intensity + savory appeal without overtly turning palates away......but at the same time retaining the challenge!
Challenge is so necessary.....don't you think?
I also wanted to mention, that I find my readership to this blog quite adventurous and your comments have already proven that! Alongside your posts on your own blogs ~ that I find more so challenging + entertaining, so here goes.....
trimming unnecessary ends: parts that are overtly ewey + gooey......like I prefer not to have in my soup.....hey, but makes a real sexy making facial mask when blended with honey......I'm not kidding
I have been on this trek to develop a more health conscious (I hate that combined effort of those two words, but I can't think of anything else right now) recipes that focus on use of natural, organic and globally inspired ingredients. I consider my cooking to focus on Korean American inspired recipes as well as other Asian recipes with a slant (hah!) toward healthier, natural ingredients and approachable techiques for the Americano and global foodies abroad.
For example.....the seaweed soup I grew up with was made with chicken broth, but had chunks of beef simmered alongside obscenely gaudy wads of seaweed. I think sometimes my mom threw in chicken gizzards and other obscure body parts (animal parts mind you)to really freak me out per chew.
the beginnings of the trimming session: From here.....I trim to more definitive bite size pieces. The long strands on the far right side is the stuff I've trimmed off for my facials.....like you really want to know
trimmed the stem off here (left top)......then sliced into very thin strips lengthwise (top right)
Miyeok guk is traditionally prepared for the pregnant/nursing mother and college students because of the high nutritional content including fiber, protein, iron and calcium.
Raw foodists and those of you that are watching the chain of emerging super foods know that seaweed contains an extraordinary amount of wealth of minerals + vitamins including iodine, magnesium, calcium, vitamin A, C, B12 to name the very few as well as nutritionally valued fatty acids.
nicely trimmed, seasoned + topped with the niceities.....doesn't it look ~ well at least presentable now?
all dressed up
supporting cast members from the top: green onions, roasted sesame seeds crushed, knob of fresh ginger + minced garlic
I also pre-marinate the seaweed with garlic, green onions, fresh ginger, sesame seeds and sesame oil for starters.
My Korean relatives.......most notably my elder uncles & aunts enjoy my cooking but slightly freak out because it really is not 'tradional' Korean cooking. Actually, some of this stuff my mom taught me....and once they know it was handed down by mom then they leave it alone.
I do not use fatty cuts of meat that is common in some Korean cooking. For example if fatty bacon is called for, I usually replace with paprika+onion powdered smoked chicken. Another commonality in Asian cooking is the use of two to three different meat proteins in one dish (as I am discovering this becomes more difficult for some people to digest or lets say for those that are trying to trim back a bit aka gut builder).
cukes for banchan: slice the cucumbers paper thin ~ evenly, precisely...........what?.....Who's a control freak? Does this pict reflect control freakism?
I also use more ingredients + methods that are fresh, less preserved and perhaps from other cultures that will generate questions marks and slam doors on traditional Korean 'zen' cuisine.
Actually, being of Korean descent I have yet to run into a 'zen' Korean. As I call it and my husband even reinforces what we call the 'hostile Korean'. Why do you think they still have the north and south?
Also, why do ALL Koreans in the United States + elsewhere claim to be from Seoul?
Like there is no other city than Seoul?
simmering with goodness: abyss of minced garlic, green onions, ginger, sesame seeds, onions, sea salt w. seaweed + chicken broth
welcome home: how to make a perfect bowl of soup
I like make seaweed soup to replenish my family with something soothing, comforting and nourishing.
I also make it when we've been to busy to make it out to the beach as it reminds me of emersing myself in ocean waters to be free.
The taste memory of seaweed soup reminds me of returning home......and not necessarily to the one readily considered home.......
korean seaweed soup ~ miyeok kuk
*refreshed* version © 2008 recipe + words Ingar Brunnett, TasteMemory
1 1/2 oz. dried korean seaweed for soup (or wakame) for example see here
5 green onions, tops + bottoms trimmed off, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teasp. fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds, grounded with mortar + pestle or other
2 teasp. sesame oil
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts of filtered water
4 cups of organic chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 whole onion, outer skins peeled off
1 small korean white radish or japanese daikon, sliced in half, then in half moons 1/3" thick
1 clove garlic, sliced really thin lengthwise
steamed brown or white rice
In a large bowl, fully emerse seaweed in cool water. Allow to soak for 20 minutes until soft and pliable. Rinse thoroughly and drain.
Trim off ends that feel ewey + gooey + overtly gelatinous (doesn't this sound appealing? ~ see picture above for reference. Test by trying to tear the bottom strands off - if they tear easily....then it's trimmable. Also, please note you don't have to do this to the 'T' regarding the trimming of endz.....This is what my mother taught me, and I know from experience that *other* Korean families don't really do this as much as my immediate family of chopping + slicing + dicing + trimming freaks.....so you can chill on this part to your liking.
Also, I really think that trimming the seaweed to smaller bite size pieces makes this soup more palatable. The intense Korean versions I've had retains the seaweed in huge wads in your bowl. Not too pleasant. I also trim off the thick stems (see photo above) and slice them into to thin strips. Again, this is your call.
After the trimming episode, squeeze out excess water from seaweed and place in medium size bowl. Add 3/4 of the chopped green onions, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, sesame oil. Then taste test a few strands. Remember there will be a hint of saltiness from the sesame seeds so consider that prior adding the sea salt. Also, make sure the sesame seeds are roasted and ground....this is so essential in the flavor of the marinade I can't tell you enough! Season lightly with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Combine mixture, cover and chill for 30 minutes or overnight.
In a large stock pot, add water, chicken broth and the whole freaking onion intact. Bring to boil, add the seasoned seaweed, sliced radishes + sliced garlic. Bring heat down to low~medium and allow to simmer at least 20 minutes whilst stirring on occasion. You can simmer a bit longer, just bring the heat down until ready to serve. Do not cover.
To make additional marinade aka ganjang for soup, in a small bowl combine 1/3 cup soy sauce, dash of sesame oil, freshly ground black pepper, toasted sesame seeds if you have any left over and the remaining minced green onions.
Ladle into soup bowls.
Serve with steamed rice + ganjang for additional seasoning.
Also, YUM with pickled cucumbers, kimchi aka kimchee and other banchan....but that's another post!