Today’s recipe is very special to me because this is one of my all-time favorite soups! Seaweed soup with mussels, or honghap miyeokguk in Korean. I was born and raised on the seashore, so I love all kinds of fish and seafood: this dish combines the healthy, delicious flavor of dried seaweed (miyeok) with the fresh, meaty, irresistible taste of mussels. The resulting soup has all the best flavors of the sea, is good for you, and is totally addictive!
Some people like to remove the mussels from their shells before cooking this soup, but I think the shells add something special and earthy to the broth, a deep sea flavor that can’t be replicated any other way.
There are many different miyeokguk recipes in Korean cuisine, made with oysters, fresh cod, beef, clams, abalone, scallops, shrimp, or beef like I did years ago in one of my early videos.
This is because miyeokguk holds a special place in Korean culture, as the high levels of calcium and iodine in seaweed make this dish an ideal one for nursing mothers recovering from childbirth. Many new moms eat it for a month straight after giving birth. Because of this it’s also customary for Koreans to eat this soup on their birthday, kind of like the western birthday cake – everyone knows that it’s not really your birthday until you have a bowl of miyeokguk. The nicest thing you can do for a Korean on their birthday is make them a bowl of miyeokguk. They’ll never forget it!
But you don’t have to wait until your birthday, or until you’re pregnant, to enjoy miyeokguk! Many Koreans (especially me!) enjoy this soup year ’round!
Enjoy the recipe! This was a special video for me to film, because I got to eat miyeokguk afterwards. And then when editing the video, it looked so delicious that I made miyeokguk again lol! If you make it, be sure to let me know how it went, and upload a photo of the finished dish!
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 ounce dried miyeok (20 grams), soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
- 2 pounds fresh mussels, debearded, rinsed, and drained.
- 5 clove garlic, minced
- 2 quarts (8 cups) water
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or Korean soup soy sauce or salt)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons sesame oil
- 4 -5 green onions, chopped
- Mix 1 tablespoon salt and 4 cups cold water in a bowl to make a salty brine. Add the mussels and soak them for 30 minutes, so they spit out any sand or dirt. Drain and rinse in cold water. Drain.
- Drain the miyeok and rinse and drain a few times. Squeeze out excess water and cut a few times into bite sized pieces.
- Add the miyeok and 8 cups of water to a large heavy pot. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 20 to 25 minutes until the miyeok turns soft and the water is infused with its flavor.
- Open and add the mussels, garlic, and fish sauce. Stir a few times. Cover and cook about 15 minutes over medium high heat. After a bit of cooking the mussels will open up and the broth will become infused with their sweet flavor.
- Remove from the heat.
- Drizzle 2 to 3 teaspoons sesame oil over top, ladle the soup into serving bowls and sprinkle some green onion over top.
- Serve immediately with rice, kimchi, and a few more side dishes if desired.