If you’ve been watching our Instagram Stories, you might’ve caught me feeding Joey some Miyeok Guk for lunch or dinner. It’s her absolutely favorite food. It’s so easy to make and is something she eats pretty often.
Miyeok Guk is a Korean seaweed soup which mothers eat postpartum for at least the first few weeks after giving birth because of its amazing health benefits. It helps with lactation/breastmilk supply and is known to be the best thing for mothers in recovery, at least in Korea. I ate this soup with rice for about 2 weeks straight along with a very simple no-salt/no fried diet (for a month) and I have to say it did make me feel like I was recovering quicker than I expected, I didn’t feel lethargic or tired like I thought I would be and I had a pretty good breastmilk supply by the end of the first week. It was tough being on a strict no-salt diet and eating this soup 3-4x a day for two weeks but I have friends who have done it for a month! The fish sauce has sodium in it so it was the only amount of sodium I had. Everything else I ate, for example, salmon, I had to only season with lemon. I will admit though that I feel strongly that it did help me with postpartum recovery, especially in the area of breast milk production. The Koreans started this postpartum tradition after they noticed centuries ago that whales would eat massive amounts of seaweed after giving birth to nurse their calves. I don’t know how much of that is true but that’s how the tradition started! Miyeok Guk is also known as Korean Birthday Soup and is commonly eaten during birthdays because of this tradition.
Miyeok/seaweed is actually a super food as it contains a great source of calcium, iodine, fibre, omega acids, vitamin B1 & B3, while low in calorie. It helps with metabolism, blood circulation and purification, constipation relief, detoxification, anti-carcinogen, anti-aging etc. No wonder the Koreans love this stuff!
There are many different variations of Miyeok Guk but since so many of you asked for my specific recipe that I use for Joey, here it is.
Ingredients: Yields 2-3 “Joey-servings”
- Dried seaweed (You can find them at most Asian grocery stores) *Please note that this is not the same as the dried seaweed snacks. Those are already cooked, salted and ready to eat. The dried seaweed you want to get for this recipe is the one that is dried in its original state and it usually comes in a long packet like the one pictured below.
- 2.5 ounces of thinly sliced beef brisket or ground beef
- 4 cups of cold water for the soup / Extra water to soak dried seaweed in
- 1/2 tsp of minced garlic
- 1 tbsp of fish sauce
I like to use my Korean Stone Pot instead of my other cooking pots because it doesn’t leave a stain where the top of the soup is and it retains the heat longer than my stainless steel pots. In general I like to cook simple things like pasta and boiling water in my stainless steel pots as soups tend to leave odors behind. You can find a Korean Stone Pot here. You can cook Bibimbap in there as well, which is a fav Korean dish of mine.
- Use your scissors to cut a handful of seaweed. FYI, a little bit dried seaweed goes a long way.
- Soak the dried seaweed in cold water for at least 30 minutes. An hour is ideal. After 30 minutes, you’ll see the seaweed take its original shape.
- When it’s ready, rinse the seaweed twice and drain. Squeeze to remove excess salt that was used in the drying process. Cut into bite sized pieces for your little one. You can always cut again after the soup is made.
- Sauté the meat in your pot with a tiny bit of sesame oil. Again, a little bit of sesame oil goes a long way so use a very small amount. You can always a tiny bit more later if needed. Add the seaweed, minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce. Sauté for 5 minutes. If it starts to stick to the bottom, you can add a bit more oil.
- Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a medium low and let simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Skim off any foam or oil that floats on top and serve with rice.
For Joey, I like to use this Seven Grain organic rice which includes brown rice, barley, millet, flax seed, wheat, red quinoa, and wild rice. I got these at Costco.
Sometimes I make a larger batch and keep several portions in the freezer so I can whip them out if I’m pressed for time for a meal prep. The regular version of this recipe is a little different as most people use soy sauce but I prefer the flavor of the fish sauce far more better. You can also substitute the beef with chicken, shiitake mushrooms, abalone or mussels. You can add tofu if you’d like as well! It’s a super healthy dish and hopefully your little ones will love it as much as Joey does!