Korean Seaweed Soup

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From the Money Saving Coupon Recipes Series

My favorite Korean soup of all time is Korean Seaweed Soup

Korean Seaweed Soup

Miyeok guk is a Korean soup made from the sea vegetable known as wakame or “sea mustard” in English. It comprises two words: miyeok, the Korean word for wakame; and guk, meaning “soup“.” -Source cited Wikipedia – Click here to read the summary.

It is surprisingly easy and fast to make this Korean Seaweed Soup and I make it at least 2-3 times a month for my family.  I am restricting my diet with the Weight Watchers Program and I have lost 30 lbs to date by eating things like this seaweed soup or my Dump Chicken Soup because there are so few calories, fat and carbs that I can eat until my belly is happy!

You can change the recipe for both soups and have a vegan/vegetarian version by omitting the animal protein and using vegetable stock or water and tofu is certainly a wonderful substitution for your protein.

If you aren’t sure how or what to substitute please feel free to email me or leave a comment and I will be more than happy to help you or answer any questions you might have.

*NOTE– If you’ve followed or read any of my previous recipes then you might notice a pattern here…I don’t believe recipes should be exclusive and so I try and offer you as many options to change things up when possible.

This is my recipe but I want you to keep an open mind and I encourage you to make it your own and make what you love to eat in the way you like to eat it.  If a recipe actually requires an exact ingredient or to be followed to a “T” like baking recipes then I will be sure and tell you so you will know not to deviate from the recipe.  I hope you have fun and think of these recipes as blank canvases and my recipe is just one suggestion.

There are endless health benefits to eating Korean food such as kimchi, wakame seaweed, sesame oil and red pepper paste called Go-chu-jang.  I know for a fact that I cannot live without Korean food because I lived in a small rural area in Tennessee many years ago and the nearest Korean food store was over 50 miles away but you better believe that this KoreAm girl drove there as often as possible to load up on my favorite Korean foods.

YouTube was not around then because if it had been then I would have learned how to cook Korean food sooner and I probably would have ended up making weekly trips!

Fortunately for me I now live in hub of Asian culture in Killeen, Texas which is 5 minutes from Fort Hood- the largest military base in the free world so getting my Korean food fix is never a problem.

I am a regular weekly shopper at O-Mart, my local Korean grocery store and I have multiple restaurants to choose from so I am never out of options.

I digress…on to seaweed soup!  You will need the following ingredients and I have included pictures of the packaging, so if in doubt, load the picture on your phone and show it to someone in the store and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

You can also check out this article Buying Korean Food Online to find stores that ship to you or just to browse the various products and get descriptions.

This recipe will normally feed 4 adults but since I am far from normal or ordinary it will feed one very hungry adult (ME) and 2 small super hungry kids, ages 9 and 6 respectively.

Korean Seaweed Soup Ingredient List:

Ingredients for Korean Seaweed Soup

1 package Miyeok (Wakame Seaweed)  

Wakame Seaweed for Korean Seaweed SoupBack side of the Wakame seaweed package for Korean Seaweed Soup

(1 & 1/2 cups cut/torn pre-soaked measurement if you already have an opened package)

1-2 cups brown or white rice

(I eat this soup the next day so I make enough for more than one meal)

3 tbsp Brewed Soy Sauce

Korean brewed soy sauce for Korean Seaweed Soup

(this is NOT Kikkoman so be sure and use the brewed soy sauce or your soup will be over salted and ruined)

1 tbsp Sesame Oil

Bottle of Korean Sesame Oil for Korean Seaweed Soup

2 tbsp Fish Sauce

Three crabs fish sauce for Korean Seaweed Soup

(omit if you don’t like fish sauce or add more if you LOVE it, your preference)

1 tsp Chopped Garlic

2 tbsp Chopped Green Onion

1/4 cup Cabbage Kimchi

Jar of Korean Baechu (Cabbage) Kimchi

1 lb beef, pork, chicken, fish or seafood of your choice

Pork for Korean Seaweed Soup

(The soup is traditionally made with beef but I use what I like and I encourage you to do the same…Maangchi uses mussels and I haven’t tried it yet but plan to in the future)

1-2 quarts of water or stock

(again depending on your preference, I prefer to use water but if you want a richer broth then use a stock of your choice that pairs well with your protein)

Freshly cracked black pepper

(traditionally made with white pepper but I like the bolder taste of black pepper)

Okay, have your ingredients ready now?  Great!  Let’s get to cooking this Korean Seaweed Soup!

Step 1:  Wash and cook your rice

You will want to do this first so it’s ready by the time the soup is finished cooking.

Step 2:  Prepare the seaweed

Wakame Seaweed used in Korean Seaweed Soup

This process looks complicated but you will be surprised at just how fast it really is!  You will need to break off or cut a good chunk of seaweed as it comes in one long and folded up strand.  Just imagine that it was growing in the ocean and they snipped it, folded it and packaged it up just for you once it dehydrated.

Use scissors to cut the wakame seaweed for Korean Seaweed Soup

I used small scissors to cut them into small 1-2 inch pieces.  They will double up in size so don’t worry about getting them uniform or perfect.  I like to cut them down to this size BEFORE I soak them so I don’t have to cut them later.

I will be honest, they feel so slimy and slippery when they first re-hydrate and I hate cutting it when it feels like that so I cut first, then soak and problem is solved!  Don’t worry, it won’t be slimy feeling when you eat it as it changes in texture when you cook it.

Wakame Seaweed doubled in size for Korean Seaweed Soup

Once cut into small pieces you will need to add water to your bowl or container and cover the seaweed and allow to soak for at least 15 minutes.  It seems like this is hardly enough seaweed to feed anyone but wait and see how much it doubles once fully hydrated.

Once it has soaked you will need to rinse and drain it a few times in the sink.  I use a large strainer bowl and repeatedly swish it around in excess water to be sure and separate the pieces.

Seaweed can contain some sediment from the ocean and once dehydrated can also contain some gritty salt crystals and you don’t want any of this sediment to ruin your soup so give it a good wash and drain.

Step 3:  Season and brown your meat/protein/tofu

season and brown the pork for Korean Seaweed Soup

I use my dutch oven for everything and I don’t even need a reason to use it because I love it THAT much but if you don’t happen to have one then I suggest using a heavy stockpot or saucepan since you want it to retain heat instead of just boiling the dickens out of your soup and being left with a seaweed stew instead of soup.

Mix your meat/protein/tofu with 2 tbsp of brewed soy sauce (reserve the other tbsp for later in the recipe), 2 tbsp fish sauce (omit if you don’t like it or have it) and black pepper into your pot heated on medium high and cook until browned or no longer raw.

If you are using seafood in this soup then only cook the seaweed in the seasonings and don’t brown your seafood.  I don’t use oil in this step because the soy sauce keeps the meat from sticking and I don’t want the meat crispy from the oil.

Once the meat is browned add the seaweed and stir fry for one minute while stirring/tossing constantly so you don’t burn the seaweed.  The idea is to coat the seaweed with some of the soy sauce and meat juices before adding the liquid.

Step 4:  Add your broth/water liquid to the soup and heat through

Add liquid to the seaweed and boil/simmer

I prefer to use water since I don’t like complex layers of flavor in this soup.  Sounds crazy coming from a self pro-claimed foodie, right?  But somehow I like to think that the ocean would taste much like my soup with the flavors of the seaweed and just a hint of the seasonings and I don’t want to over power that with more flavors.

Or maybe I am just a misguided and misinformed cook…but either way….make it yours and put what you like.  🙂  Once covered with liquid, cover and slow boil or simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 5:  Taste the broth, re-season if necessary and add sesame oil

Taste it and if you feel it needs more salt then add some or add more brewed soy sauce.  I always add the other tbsp of brewed soy sauce in this step along with the sesame oil.

Don’t go overboard on the sesame oil since it has a very strong flavor.  It is meant to be used as a finishing oil in this step and if you use too much you will ruin your soup.

Step 6:  Bowl up the soup, garnish and enjoy

Korean Seaweed Soup Miyeok Soup

My picture illustrates the way I eat the soup.  I put seaweed and meat into the bottom of the bowl without broth and then I add 1/2 cup of the brown rice on top and ladel the broth over the rice and seaweed.

I finish it off with minced garlic over my rice and green onions around the edge of the bowl.  There are days when I don’t make it this pretty and I simply dump and eat and it’s just as good too!

I serve this with the traditional Korean Baechu (Cabbage) Kimchi and I usually eat 2 big bowls of it at a time.  My two bowls end up being about one cup of brown rice, 4oz of kimchi and 4 cups of seaweed and broth and 3-4 oz of protein total.

I don’t know how many calories are in it all but I do know that it’s only 9 Weight Watchers Plus Points total for both bowls and that makes my belly and my heart very happy!

Eating my Korean Seaweed Soup gives you the ability to fill up without feeling guilty.  It’s so healthy and good for you that I sometimes sneak a dessert since I ate such a low fat, low calorie meal can afford to splurge a bit.

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