Tuesday, May 6, 2008

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?

Who's hostile?


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

soup stock:
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!


Melita said...

OK, waiting for the words!

First photo - ??? seaweed???:)))))

Second photo - very presentable ;)

Third photo - If not control freakism, then perfectionism! (I am same) Are you a first born? : )

Very last photo - Nice gang! :)))

Chef Erik said...

Looks way better than
just "presentable". I think it looks super delish! Those sre some of my favorite flavors.

Elle said...

Who needs words with gorgeous photos like those?

Simply...Gluten-free said...

What a lovely blog ou have! Thanks for the invite to be your friend!

Gwen said...

Like this visual narrative! Waiting for the words!

Kalyan Karmakar said...

Your photos are really wonderful...look like they are straight out of a fancy coffee table book. great job

Anonymous said...

Yum. I am ready to dive into the narrative, now that I'm hooked on the topic of seaweed soup.

cakewardrobe said...

You are chopping obsessed as you proclaim1! I love it cause you do it so neatly!!!

taste memory said...

medena ~ yes definitely first born - man, incredible insight! am in the painstaking process of getting the REST of the photos up. Words are brewing as we speak...

chef erik ~ yeah it's like the holy trinity of Korean cooking w. a slight twist of my own making!

elle ~ thanks so much...I'm a chatterbox essentially - tho this time should be more pix than words.

simply gluten-free ~ welcome! thanks so much and likewise :)

gwen ~ keep your fingers crossed, plan to post b4 the weekend bliss

the knife ~ cool, thanks....i do hope for that perhaps!

anonymous ~ sea veggies are very versatile...really yummy w. baked sweet potatoes n' butter!

cake wardrobe ~ yes scary isn't it?! perhaps weird obsessions an asian thing at least for me....i also prefer kick boxing over other boring exercise routines....

Chef Erik said...

OK, I made this today. Came out so delish. You would have been proud. Thanx!

Unknown said...

control freakism...wowww are u using a certain gadget to slice those bad boys?

all of those look gorgeous & healthy!


You're invited to my chinese take-out party, check out the details in my blogpost:

Hope you'll play along :)

Looking forward to your take on chinese take-out ^_^

taste memory said...

chef erik ~ hey great! Totally makes me want to go to the beach and soak into the ocean!

mocha rita ~ yeah, the cukes were slices w. mega sharp knife & control freakism hands....i used to watch my mom slice + dice growing up. Her slicing + dicing is more intense than mine...ha ha.....

take out party sounds fun! I'm heading out to town right now, but will check possibilities if I get back in time to partake in your invite. Thanks ;-)

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

I'm a first-born too! That explains it....can't wait for more. Have a good time on your trip!

Anonymous said...

Wow, your pictures say a lot in themselves! This looks wonderful and so healthy, too.

Candis said...

Delightful blog - so clean and inviting. Lovely pictures! Your blog title caught my eye - especially the word "memory," as I collect early childhood memories and also use them in my work and on my blog...just wondering what your earliest childhood memory might be...?


Melita said...

Now, that you are back, check out my blog, I have an award waiting for you!;)

Anonymous said...

yes I agree that those photos are really very beautiful. After your comment about the garter, I see the 6th photo down as panties hanging on the line to dry... The recipe sounds awesome delicious!

Nina Timm said...

I have looked at this post so many times, but did not know what to comment as this is not something that I would eat, but your attention to detail is amazing and I had a good laugh...your writing style is quirky, funny and very informative.

tigerfish said...

I heard that miyeok kuk is a beauty soup and good for women after they deliver their bb. Is that true?

Gwen said...

What an informative post, esp. about the nutrition aspect and seaweed as a superfood. This soup looks great, although I've never tried this.

Thistlemoon said...

Hi! Nice post! I really love seaweed, but I usually only get in salad form at Japanese restaurants. I love that to death, but I would love to try it another way too. This looks great and I loved this post!

Anonymous said...

Koreans and Japanese share their liking for seaweed for obvious reasons as both are "maritime" countries. The difference is that Koreans will eat it more in salads and Japanese in soups.
Talking of seaweed, it has been collected in Europe for millenia as fertilizer. Now the French found another (very) important use for it! Have you ladies ever suspected that everytime you use gel (jel) in your make-up is exclusively made from seaweed?
Cheers and congratulations for a great posting!

taste memory said...

jessica ~ yeah...so much to do so little time! hope you enjoy this 'how to' on sea veggies!

jj ~ hey there, thanks for stopping by....definitely good for the bod+mind ~ underrated i think, it tastes much better than appears.

candis ~ welcome, thanks + glad you are enjoying this blog. I'll come by and check out yours...some early memories are noted in my earlier posts on BEETS :)

medena ~ awe! You are incredible ~ thanks so mucho!!!

foodhoe ~ LOL here: definitely panties that have been washed of course!

nina ~ as always love your candor ~ good to hear from you and thnx for reading my ramble!

tigerfish ~ yes definitely...tho I was never in the mood for seaweed soup back then ~ actually preferred a beer + pizza when it was all done.

gwen ~ I thought perhaps sharing insight about nutritional value + emphasing the visual beauty of the natural element might make it more approachable....

dragonlife ~ always appreciate your insight.....yes, I can see about fertilizer + I do use for facials every now + then (really!).

So hope this sounds more inviting about seaweed: superfood makes great soups + salad, plus fertilizer + facials!

jenndz ~ hey there + awesome to another seaweed supporter! welcome back!!!

Jessica@Foodmayhem said...

OMG! Please post recipes for Banchan!! Can't wait!!

Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

Koreans, hostile?! Where've you been hanging out? In my circle they are the most genteel of people I know.

If by "Zen " Koreans you mean those that are "spiritually enlightened " I know quite a few. Most, however; didn't grow up in this country like you did so you probably find them "unenlightened " when it comes to breaking from 5,000 years of traditions.

My hubby loves the seaweed soup and I make it quite often. I will try your very creative version.

Actually, when Spring arrives I'm hankering for some Bibimbap because of all those yummy vegetables.

Suzanne Yack said...

Fabulous post. Just the best.

By the way, I made the Beauty and the Beet salad for a dinner party last week and it got rave reviews, I mean it was the talk of the dinner party. I had a couple of guests help me in the final "sprinkle this and sprinkle that" part and they enjoyed working with the ingredients. So maybe I'm ready to revisit sea vegetables, now that you've gotten my husband to warm up to beets. Good job!

cakewardrobe said...

This sounds like comfort food to me!!!! A nice warm bowl of seaweed soup and rice sounds like a perfect dinner!

maybelles mom said...

great post. i love seaweed soup.

Unknown said...

welcome back! looking forward to your next posts already ^_^

Melita said...

What a great post, and recipe!!!
I am inspired to try it one day! Indeed!
(that from someone who shies away from seaweed :)
I love the accompanied ingredients, must make a great soup.

KT said...

I've been trying to eat seaweed, but having a hard time, but that soup does look good. I'll be waiting for your kimchee recipe.

Nicole said...

Gorgeous photos and post (once again). It is funny because I eat seaweed just fine with sushi but I don't find it too too appetizing elsewhere. I think it is a texture thing. I will have to try again.

Melita said...

I have tagged you with a silly tag, easy and interesing! Check my blog for instructions...

taste memory said...

jessica ~ yes that'll be up, I have quite a 'to do' lists for posts.....the banchan one will be fun!

carolyn gail ~ yes I do know the genteel ones too! Hey your bibimbap is a beaute and I'm sure was YUM

Suzanne ~ glad to hear the beauty + beet salad was a smash - wow and even hubby liked!? I am happy to hear the recipe worked out to the T and it was enjoyable!

cakewardrobe ~ great for dinner and a big pot like this doesn't last our family too long - it's pretty much gone after 2 nights!

maybelles mom ~ hello and welcome ;-)

mochacholata rita ~ hey there, loved your posts on 'how to pix of food shots' great!

medena ~ it's good to hear it's inspiring even if you don't always eat seaweed *ahem* sea vegetables...

katyk ~ hi there + welcome back!

nicole ~ hiya, yes I get that a lot about the texture - so this recipes calls for chopping the seaweed down smaller bite size - makes more palatable and pretty too! agree w. you seaweed + sushi=awesome!

medena ~ thanks girl - I'll come check it out!

Piztachio said...

reminds me of my days in korea! i ate so much seaweed back then...but perhaps none as good-looking as yours.

Auset said...

Your Blog is absolutely inspiring...good food is really good FUN. Where have you been all of my life. Can I get the recipe for the bar-b-q made from walnuts?