My good friend just had her first child, Callum. I don’t know what it’s like to have a newborn in the house, but I’m pretty sure there’s limited or no time for cooking! Now that I have all the time in the world as I’m done with summer school, I decided to make dinner for her and her husband.
First dish that came to mind was seaweed soup. Don’t worry. I asked the mother first if she’s daring enough to try it ;). The word seaweed doesn’t usually scream out “eat me!” I wish I could make it for all my friends with newborns…ahem, Maura!
In Korea, this soup is traditionally eaten by women who just have just given birth, as seaweed detoxifies and cleanses the blood, replenishes and nourishes the body with vitamins and minerals lost during pregnancy, and stimulates milk production. It’s filled with folic acid, iodine, and calcium. Mothers usually eat this soup everyday for about 3 months.
We don’t fool around with this tradition. My mom actually went to Korea and shipped back a huge box containing just seaweed so she could make it for my sister who had her baby back in February.
In addition, this soup is also eaten on birthdays. The reason being that it was the first thing the moms ate after delivering and the first thing one would eat as a baby through his/her mom’s breast milk. Korea’s full of traditions, and I’m so happy to be able to share these little bits of my culture with you.
Seaweed soup is made with either beef or seafood (e.g. mussels or clams) as a base. I made mine with flank steak. It’s super easy with minimal ingredients. This allows the flavor of the seaweed to really shine through!
- 1 oz. dried seaweed *
- 4 oz. flank steak, sliced
- 3 Tbs. low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbs. sesame oil
- 1/2 Tbs. garlic (optional)
- 3 1/2 cups of water
* Available in all Korean groceries. I’ve seen it in some but not all Asian groceries.
- Soak dried seaweed in cold water for at least 30 min. until softened.
- Drain water and cut into bite-sized pieces (I used my kitchen scissors).
- In a pot, cook flank steak on med high heat with sesame oil. Add seaweed and cook, approx. 8 min. Add 1 Tbs soy sauce and garlic. Keep mixing.
- Add water. Boil for approx. 25 min. May need to add more if soup gets too thick.
- Add rest of soy sauce to taste.
I also made some bulgogi, brown rice, and kimchi cooked in sesame oil.
What are some foods that your family traditionally makes for a new mommy?