Monday, June 9, 2014

Miyuk Guk (Seaweed Soup) ramblings!


FYI, the pic was taken with the iPhone. My dad borrowed MY Canon for the week because he needed it.


Miyuk Guk (seaweed soup) is another one of my favorite comfort dish foods. Being a nonspicy dish, it almost feels like a therapeutic relief to my system whenever I consume it. After all the spicy food I consume, my system can definitely use a break now and then. This dish makes me feel so calmed, satisfied without the empty calories, and I always end the meal feeling like I actually ate something healthy, that’s benefiting my body. I don’t have to stress about, “oh no too many carbs in that dish….my stomach is going to feel upset later.” Or “OMG why did I eat so much junk? I feel so unhealthy now,” Nor the “Too much spicy. As much as I love spicy, imagine what all that spicy food can do to my insides.” No, after a soothing bowl of Miyuk Guk, my body is saying, “Ohhh….just finished a hearty bowl of yummy goodness, packed with health benefits. I feel great!”

For Koreans, Miyuk Guk is associated with birth. We eat it on our birthday. And mothers eat Miyuk Guk for weeks after giving birth. It’s believed to revive and replenish the body after the labor of giving birth. But this also applies to miscarriages and abortions. I totally remember my mom eating Miyuk Guk after giving birth to my brothers. Memory of the youngest brother stands out the most because I was a little older then. My grandma made a huge pot of Miyuk Guk for my mom to eat. And it seems like she ate nothing but that for days, then weeks. And of course, it became what we (the family) ate at the time too. I am pretty sure the rest of us didn’t eat Miyuk Guk every single day like my mom did, but we certainly did have our share.

My mom makes Miyuk Guk for each of our birthdays. As much as I don’t like her cooking, I eat it anyways. I make my own every now and then. It’s rarely for a birthday, but just whenever I get the craving. I was browsing around Maangchi’s site last week and her video totally made me crave some Miyuk Guk. So I ended up making some the next morning. I didn’t have any mussels in house, so I just used whatever I had. I prefer beef. I only had some brisket, so that is what I ended up using.

It so hit the spot!! All those feelings I mentioned above, kicked in full swing! It’s one of those dishes that comforts and hugs you.

When I was visiting Korea, I remember my cousin (boy cousin who is a few years older than me) getting up early to cook Miyuk Guk for his mother (my aunt) on her birthday. Even though I grew up eating this dish my entire life, it was the first time actually watching someone make it. I remember him sautéing the Miyuk (seaweed) away first. I knew nothing about cooking back then, but I remember thinking, “That is all there is to making Miyuk Guk? I can do that! That looks so easy!” My cousin’s mom was thrilled to pieces to wake up to her son’s Miyuk Guk. He only made one serving size, just for her. We were heading out to a huge buffet at the time, so she only ate a little bit. She probably ate the rest later.
I told that story to my mom recently when she made Miyuk Guk on my brother’s birthday some months ago.  She went on to say what horrible kids she’s got lol. “My kids don’t care enough about me that I went through carrying them for months, then giving birth to them, then raising them. They don’t care enough to ever make me Miyuk Guk, not once on my birthday.” I have cooked many things for my mom, but I guess I’ve never made Miyuk Guk on her birthday yet. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that she’s been making Miyuk Guk on everyone’s birthdays, including hers, since I can remember. Maybe this year!

I’ve seen on Korean dramas where the kids make Miyuk Guk for the moms when it’s their (the kids) birthdays. They feel that it’s the moms that should eat the Miyuk Guk because they are the ones that went through the pregnancy and childbirth. That makes total sense too! I even saw birthday cakes being presented to the mom instead of the kid whose birthday it was. Interesting! Moms deserve just as much celebration and congratulating on their kids’ birthdays.

Happy Monday. Oh and I just saw that Psy has a new video out. I'll leave you with that.




14 comments:

  1. We love miyukguk and I often use a rotisserie chicken when I don't have any beef in the house! Dude, I lived off of this stuff, as I'm sure you well know, after giving birth to my kids. . I needed all that iron! :) Will have to check out the new PSY video!!

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    1. Oh I have never used chicken before, but that sounds delicious too. I wonder about how long ago this tradition dates back to, with miyuk guk being associated with birth.

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  2. Aww you should totally make Miyuk Guk for your mom this year on her birthday! I love the meaning and tradition behind this soup. I went over to Maangchi to check out the recipe and it really does look super easy! Maybe this can be my first Korean recipe...I feel like I can handle it and the ingredients aren't overwhelming...aaaaannnd I have them on hand minus the mussels.

    So do you put the rice in your picture inside the soup or do you eat it on the side? Somehow you totally made me crave hot soup in June in Atlanta! Quite the feat!

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    1. Lol yeah I probably should. Yep, this and pretty much all of her recipes are really easy to follow. I hope you do make it soon and enjoy it. It's so yummy and comforting. Wow you have seaweed on hand too? What kind of dishes do you like to make with seaweed?

      Yeah, I do sometimes dump the rice in the bowl. Just depends on my mood. Sometimes I eat separately. Have you read my post on eating guk (soup) like a peasant? http://www.behgopa.com/2013/11/eating-kongnamul-guk-soybean-sprout.html Dumping rice in the bowl is considered the peasant way, while eating it on the side is the "noble" way. I guess since peasants did not have the luxury of all that free time and probably in a hurry to slave around, they dumped the rice in the soup to eat faster. I tend to eat like a peasant when I am pressed for time. On leisurely days, I eat like royalty, on the side lol.

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  3. Love seaweed so I think I would like Miyuk Guk! I think its interesting how in Korea kids would even think of miyuk guk and giving birthday cakes to their moms on their own birthdays. Here its the opposite and I feel like its allllll about the kid, especially on their birthdays. Asian cultures definitely place more of a emphasis on respecting and treating your elders well, especially family. I remember being younger and not understanding why whenever we had dinner with my Asian grandparents house my grandpa got served first and all the kids got served last. On the other hand here I read an article about how this mom let her kid pull out her eyelashes (!!) so that he would stop screaming on the plane. Haha. I feel like there has to be an median.

    How come you don't like your moms cooking?? I feel like there were things that I used to eat like my mom that now I don't like (super overcooked scrambled eggs, steak WELL DONE) but when I was little it was all I knew/how she made it so I loved it. I think up until a couple years ago I still liked my scrambled eggs like dry little pebbles....the steak transition happened earlier though, well done steak is just a waste of meat for me.

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    1. I think you will like it too! I haven't seen anyone give miyuk guk or cakes to their parents on their (the kids) birthdays in real life yet...only in the dramas. Even though I only saw it on the dramas, it totally made sense. Moms are the ones that went through the birth part, so they totally deserve cakes and miyukguks. Yep, they are totally more respectful of the elders.

      I have never liked my mom's cooking. She is a horrible cook! But there are certain things of hers that I actually do like, Galbi being one of them. My mom did not cook for us growing up, so I didn't grow up eating her food.

      Oh I used to eat steak well done too, when I was a kid lol. We (the kids) transitioned first, then the parents later followed.

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  4. I think a factor in the focus on kids is also related to when you were raised and what your family's technique was/is. I know in my family we had a healthy respect for our elders including friends of the family. They were to be addressed as sir and ma'am, we were to be quiet when we were around them (probably why we were always in the game room or outside) we had our own kids table to sit at (at least for the big family gatherings) and we did as we were told (within reason...after all we were still kids lol)!

    Miss Kim~ did the elders segregate the kids at their own table during big family get togethers in your family?

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    1. For larger family gatherings, we wouldn't have all fit on one table anyways. We had separate tables.

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  5. I want that piggy rice bowl and the soup spoon (oh and the metal chopsticks too). Please :)

    I rarely saw any of my boy relatives cooking in the kitchen. It honestly was alien to see guys in the kitchen growing up.

    I agree with JS that it's all about the kids here. I notice that with my sis' kids. They don't understand the reverence we did when we were around elders (as kids ourselves). I recently took youngest sis' friends to dinner and they were soooo polite and respectful.

    I love how dramatic your mom can be about child birth/raising you guys. My mom is the same way :)

    You should surprise her with a big ol' bowl of Miyuk Guk (I love learning Korean on your blog) on her bday !

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    1. My items look totally Asian, huh? My cousin's family did not have any daughters, so he (the youngest son) played some of the daughter roles too I guess.

      Oh I just read your post on dining with your sis and her friends. Hello Kitty Crew LOL. Cute name. They sound like pleasant polite young ladies.

      You should totally make Miyuk Guk too. Total comfort food to eat any time of the year.

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  6. Thanks for dropping by my blog earlier. I absolutely love Korean food so will be interesting to check out what recipes you have on this site.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by as well. My blog isn't primarily a recipe based blog. I do share recipes here and there, but I tend to focus more on my food related stories, life in the professional kitchen, and such. I'm more about sharing my culinary musings than recipes. But I do hope you will enjoy some of my stories!

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  7. I know zero about this dish but I love foods that give you comfort and foods that remind you of childhood and other places that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Certain foods just make you feel good and happy and I can totally get behind that! Interesting idea to give a cake to your mom on your own birthday - haven't heard that before but it's a neat idea, really!

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    1. I am all about comfort food too. Yeah, I've never heard of it before, but thinks it makes total sense to celebrate and honor moms on the child's birthday.

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