Lactation Recipes: Korean Seaweed Soup


I love pulling from other cultures to see how women nurture each other with traditional foods after birth. Here is a recipe that is close to my heart because I gave birth to my first son in South Korea, and this warm nourishing bowl of goodness was served to me at the birthing center.
As the story goes, the history behind eating this Seaweed Soup came from ancient Koreans observing whale mothers gorging themselves on seaweed after birth. It just so happens seaweed is teeming with restorative vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, iodine, B vitamins, and omega 3's which a mother's body can be depleted of postpartum. This soup is also enjoyed each year on one's birthday to honor a mother's love and hard work in birth and child-rearing. 
Don't be intimidated by a few exotic ingredients here. There is really just one you have to get right: the seaweed. This seaweed is not the usual crispy salty seaweed snack you may be used to. It comes in long dry strands (you can see it pictured above). If you have an Asian market nearby, just go in and ask for "mi-yuk" or brown seaweed or sea mustard. 
Now you have the right seaweed, this soup is easy-peasy and oh-so-satisfying.
4 cups of soaked seaweed (about 1 cup dry) 
16 cups water
4-5 tbsp fish sauce (can substitute soy sauce/ salt to taste)
200 grams beef brisket
1 tbsp chopped garlic
for garnish: 1-2 tsp sesame oil, cooked egg strips, crushed dried seaweed snack, toasted sesame seeds, hot sauce
1. Soak 1 cup of seaweed in a big bowl of water for 30 minutes. Drain, and chop into small pieces. 
2. Add soaked seaweed and 16 cups of water in a large pot and boil on high for about 20 minutes.
3. Slice beef into small, match-stick shaped pieces. Add raw beef, chopped garlic, fish sauce to pot and boil for another 20 minutes on medium.
4. Top with a drizzle of sesame oil, sesame seeds, dried seaweed snack, and strips of cooked egg. 
This soup pairs perfectly with a bowl of steaming grains such as brown rice, barley, or a white rice and quinoa blend. Enjoy and feel the warmth of a mother's love!

 


2 comments


  • Crystal S Gonzalez

    I hope mothers don’t take this advice too seriously. Seaweed contains high traces of iodine, enough to make baby sick and have adverse effects. Koreans are often diagnosed with thyroid disorders due to the high intake of seaweed soon after birth. Please do more research.


  • Chaley

    I’m 4 weeks postpartum and fighting to get my breast milk supply up. My child was taken to special care a day after birth. He was latching perfectly until then and they told me I wasn’t allowed to breast feed him in there, which ended up being a lie. Now I’m having a hard time all around, but especially with supply. Lactation specialist says that my son won’t even try to latch again until my supply is back up. I’m trying to pump enough for him to eat but only get maybe a few drops. If I’m lucky, an ounce a day. My Korean grandmother told me to eat seaweed soup but I’m having a hard time with texture ever since I got pregnant. Would you happen to know if it’s the seaweed itself that helps the supply or is it the actual soup part? I can eat the broth all day, I just didn’t know if maybe since the seaweed sits in the broth for so long, if it would do the same job. If it maybe… soaked up whatever it is that causes the breast milk to come in better? Thanks in advance.


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