A brew for all reasons

There is no better soup for a dose of magic and medicine.

By Brenda Paik Sunoo
Published February 6, 2002 8:51PM (EST)

Miyoguk (Korean Seaweed Soup)

The brown seaweed called miyok is different from more well-known Japanese varieties, such as wakame and nori (for sushi). Most American health-food stores sell both types. But miyok, when soaked, actually looks like a flat ribbon of dark, slimy green curls floating in a sea of muddy-colored broth.

1 cup (or 8 ounces) of dried seaweed

1/2 pound beef (shoulder or flank steak)

3 scallions

2-3 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. salt

4 cups water

(Makes 4 servings)

1. Soak the seaweed in warm water for half an hour. Rinse and wash carefully. Cut into two-inch strips. Set aside.

2. Cut the beef into 2-inch lengths. Slice the scallions into 2-inch lengths (using the white and green parts) and crush the garlic.

3. Heat the seasame oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Brown the meat, then add the scallions, garlic, soy sauce and salt. (Note: if you need more sesame oil, add another 2-3 tablespoons.)

4. Add the water and seaweed. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer for at least 10 minutes. If you're not in a rush, let the soup sit for several hours to blend the flavors.

5. Sprinkle with pepper, if desired. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. (Roast white sesame seeds in a dry skillet until brown. Crush with mortar and pestle to release the flavor.)

6. Serve with rice on the side. Very often, Koreans will shovel spoonfuls of rice into the soup as they eat it.

Brenda Paik Sunoo

Brenda Paik Sunoo is a writer and bereavement counselor in Irvine, Ca. She is working on a memoir.

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