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.
Adapted from Seaweed Soup with Beef
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!