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Korean Seaweed Soup (Miyeok Guk)

Try this light, healthy, and nutritious Korean seaweed soup – Miyeok guk recipe. It’s very easy to make and comes with many benefits! 

Seaweed soup in a pot

Today, I want to share one of the staple Korean soups – seaweed soup recipe.

What is Korean Seaweed Soup

Korean seaweed soup (miyeok guk or miyuk guk, 미역국) is a soup predominantly made with sea mustard also known as brown seaweed (undaria pinnatifida) or Japanese wakame.

The soup is also typically accompanied with some form of protein (e.g. beef, seafood – mussels or prawns, or tinned tuna) along with light seasoning (salt, soy sauce, garlic and roasted sesame oil).

I personally like the soup made with beef more than any others as I think nothing produces umami rich deep flavor like beef does.

With all these goodies, the soup tastes healthy and nourishing.

Korean Birthday Soup

Korean seaweed soup is also known as birthday soup, as many Koreans eat this soup on their birthday. (However, people eat this on normal days just as often as well.)

So, why do people have it on a birthday?

In Korea, seaweed soup is often served for a woman who just delivered a baby, because the nutrients that are contained in the seaweed are known to help with the recovery and also producing breast milk.

There are many other health benefits too, so if you want to find out, you can read more from here.

Anyway, because of this soup’s association with childbirth, the soup is known as birthday soup.

Now that the mystery is solved, I hope you try my recipe soon!

P.S. If you like the seaweed flavor, you should also check out my cold cucumber soup, which uses the same seaweed.

A bowl of Korean seaweed soup

Ingredients for Korean Seaweed Soup, 3-4 servings

Main

  • 15 g / 0.5 ounces dried seaweed (Miyeok / wakame)
  • 120 g / 4.2 ounces beef chuck or round steak, sliced into smaller pieces
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt (or more to taste)
  • A few cracks black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce (I used regular Kikkoman soy sauce)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 5 cups water

*1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml

**If you want to learn more about Korean ingredients, check my 30 essential Korean cooking ingredients list!

How to Make Korean Seaweed Soup

1. Soak the dried seaweed in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes while allowing it to expand. Drain the water away and rinse the seaweed a couple of times in running water. Drain/squeeze the water out. (If you’re using non pre-cut dried seaweed, cut it with scissors – about little finger lengths). Set it aside.

Prepare Korean seaweed for soup

2. Combine the sliced beef with the salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Mix them well and set aside until needed.

Seasoned beef in a bowl

3. Pre heat a medium pot over medium heat (about 20 seconds). Add the sesame oil, seaweed and beef. Stir them well until the beef is partly cooked (about 2 mins). Add the soy sauce, garlic and water. Cover the pot and boil over medium – medium high heat until the meat is fully cooked (10 to 15 mins). Adjust the taste with more salt if needed.

Making seaweed soup

4. Serve warm with a bowl of steamed rice and other Korean side dishes.

Miyeok guk served with rice and other side dishes


Seaweed soup in a pot

Korean Seaweed Soup (Miyeok Guk)

How to make simple but delicious Korean seaweed soup!
4.78 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: seaweed, soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3 to 4
Calories: 151kcal
Author: Sue | My Korean Kitchen

Ingredients

Main

  • 15 g dried seaweed (Korean miyeok or Japanese wakame), (0.5 ounces)
  • 120 g beef chuck or round steak, (4.2 ounces), sliced into smaller pieces
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt (or more to taste)
  • A few cracks black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce , I used regular Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 5 cups water

Instructions

  • Soak the dried seaweed in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes while allowing it to expand. Drain the water away and rinse the seaweed a couple of times in running water. Drain/squeeze the water out. (If you’re using non pre-cut dried seaweed, cut it with scissors – about little finger lengths). Set it aside.
  • Combine the sliced beef with the salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Mix them well and set aside until needed.
  • Pre heat a medium pot over medium heat (about 20 seconds). Add the sesame oil, seaweed and beef. Stir them well until the beef is partly cooked (about 2 mins). Add the soy sauce, garlic and water. Cover the pot and boil over medium - medium high heat until the meat is fully cooked (10 to 15 mins). Adjust the taste with more salt if needed.
  • Serve warm with a bowl of steamed rice and other Korean side dishes.

Notes

*1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml
**The recipe was originally posted in July 2007.

Nutrition

Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 787mg | Potassium: 127mg | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1.1mg
Tried this recipe?I love hearing how you went with my recipes! Leave a comment below or Tag me on Instagram @MyKoreanKitchen.

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Written by: Sue

Last Updated: May 13, 2019
Sue and My Korean Kitchen Profile

Hi, I'm Sue and I am the creator of My Korean Kitchen. Thank you for joining me in this delicious culinary journey!

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40 thoughts on “Korean Seaweed Soup (Miyeok Guk)”

  1. I’m vegan, but I’ve always wanted to try seaweed soup! I swapped out the 4.2 oz of beef for 8 ounces of diced tofu, i put plenty of salt, pepper, and a bit of chili powder on the cubes. Looking back, I should’ve pressed/drained the tofu, and used extra firm instead of firm, but it still turned out great. I also added more soy sauce than the recipe said, about two more tablespoons, a bit more garlic, and some diced onions to add flavor. Using beef probably would’ve added more flavor to the soup, but I needed to compensate. I let the soup boil longer than suggested (mostly because i was steaming my rice) and the seaweed broke apart, but it made the whole soup full of seaweed in every bite, I enjoyed it very much.

    Reply
  2. Hi Ms. Sue, i tried cooking this using your recipe the soup was great but the seaweed turned a little tough, maybe i did something wrong or got a not so good brand, can you recommend a brand that i can use. Thanks…

    Reply
  3. Hello Sue, I bought a pack of dried seaweed some time ago, decided to try to make soup out if it. Found your recipe and went a head to try. I had pork ribs and took a chance, it turned out pretty good. Thanks for the simple recipe.

    Reply
  4. I made this and replaced beef with seitan to do it a vegan way and it was absolutely delicious! I’m glad I discovered your site and will definitely recommend it !

    Reply
  5. Just awesome recipe with full of nutrient. Many Thanks for posting this recipe, I will must try to home. As a Nutritionist I appreciate this recipe with all healthy ingredients. I hope you will upload more recipes like this.

    Reply
  6. Oh my goodness this looks so good. Now this is a healthy way to celebrate a birthday instead of a sugar laden cake. Never figured out how to use seaweed. I must go a Korean store and get some. Yes I agree beef would be nicer in this soup. Grass fed of course.

    Reply
  7. Your recipes take me back home to an amazing Korean community in Maryland. So excited to make Miyeok Guk. The thought warms my heart and body.

    Reply
  8. Being vegetarian, I put in a piece of kelp, which I remove after five minutes… I add a small amount of gochujang, doenjang and ginger, also, Then I poach two eggs in the broth, as well.
    This is breakfast everyday, with purple rice. And crunchy roasted sesame seeds on top, sprinkled with gochugaru. I love the stuff, can’t get enough – seaweed is king in our house.
    The lady at the local Korean supermarket was amazed that a non Korean household makes their own kimchi, and eat so much Korean food… she was surprised that Westerners would eat Korean foods for breakfast. Now she’s used to me, and she’s always helping me try new things.

    Reply
  9. Maybe it’s just my family, but my parents tend to sautee the beef with the garlic first, then add the seaweed and proceed as usual. I don’t know if it makes any difference, though personally I love it.

    To each his own recipe, I suppose! 🙂

    Reply
  10. This is my second year of living in Seoul, South KOrea. I love the cuisine! It’s so healthy AND delicious! It’s still sweltering hot but I’m going to try to make this soup on my own at home.
    My colleague just told me that traditionally Korean women, after giving birth, eat this soup for one month as Koreans believe it strengthens the blood. Since I hardly eat meat, I’m going to start incorporating this soup in my diet on a regular basis. I’ve tasted it before, it was delicious. Love the blog!

    Reply
  11. I didn’t think I would like this soup very well because I hate strange textures, but turns out I liked it a lot. The seaweed was pretty mild for me, but I hear some people don’t take it as well. Either way, I loved it.
    -Sylvia

    Reply
  12. Hello:
    I am new to your website and I am so glad I found it! It is chock full of good information. I definitely detect kindred souls here. I am familiar with most of the food you describe, but it’s nice to get the English version of the recipes. It took me a few minutes to figure out what “capsicum” is – bell pepper, right? I look forward to more interesting tidbits and recipes.

    Reply
  13. I would love to have some soup, salad, etc. recipes for a brown seaweed called Laminaria Japonica! Do you have any?

    Reply
  14. I tried your recipe for miyeok-guk last night. It was so easy to prepare and it was absolutely delicious – even better than my mom’s! Thank you so much for posting the recipe with such vivid photos and clear instructions. I love your site!

    Reply
  15. I was actually looking for a recipe for Samgyeopsal and I’m so happy that I found your site. I’m planning to make it tonight. I love that you have photo’s of your food preparation. Your recipe for miyeok guk looks simple and delicious. I can’t wait to try it. I just came back from my first visit to Korea and loved it. I’m amazed how inexpensive food is and everything we ate were so tasty.
    Thank you for your informative site.

    Reply
  16. I’m really glad I found your site! I love cooking and I love cooking Korean food. I’m planning on making seaweed soup for my mom when I go home next weekend (it was her birthday yesterday). But I was wondering if it would be okay to substitute the beef with turkey or chicken. Have you ever tried that? I’m not really crazy about beef (nor is anyone else in my family…my parents have been trying to eat more healthfully), and I always substitute ground turkey for ground beef and I can never taste any difference. Do you think it’ll work? Thanks!

    Reply
  17. I’m so excited to find your site and am looking forward to trying your recipes. Thanks for all the beautiful pictures along with the anecdotes. =)

    Reply
  18. Try making it with seafood – mussel, shrimp (dried or fresh), dried anchovies (myulchee), etc
    You just substitute any one or more of the seafood for beef and cook the same way.

    Reply
  19. Welcome back! This soup looks great; I have never had this before. I like brothy soups a lot and I love seaweed so this looks especially good to me. I have never liked cream/dairy based soups.

    I wonder if this in on the menu at any of the local Korean restaurants around here…..I may have to go just to see.

    Take care,

    andra

    Reply
  20. Yummy!! Except I would add about twice as much or more of garlic, I love that it melts in your mouth and gets a little sweet if you cook the soup for a long time.

    Reply
  21. ah. thank you. i looked for this on your site about a month ago, but couldn’t find it. i had to resort to calling my mother, who can tell me the steps, but never the measurements. she says things like a fistful of this and a few drops of that… that version came out bland. i’ll have to try yours!

    Reply

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