Saturday, March 29, 2008

Perilla Seaweed Soup

들깨 미역국[Deul-Kke-Mi-Yeok-Guk]

There is something special about seaweed soup in Korean culture for it is also known as a birthday soup, similar to a birthday cake as in western culture. And, normally a Korean birthday celebration would come with a family meal of seaweed soup and a more meaty dish like bulgogi, and maybe a cake.

Last Saturday, it wasn't anybody's birthday but we got to have perilla seaweed soup for dinner, thanks to my aunt who came to visit and showed me how to make it. I had made seaweed soup several times before, but this was my first time making it, or any dish, with perilla seeds. Ground perilla seeds, when added to soup, seemed to play a magic and turned the soup into mustard colored, savory soup whose sweet smell lingers around as you dip your nose close to it.

For 2 servings

dry seaweeds (1/4 cup)
ground beef (1/4 cup)
water (4 cup)
Korean soy sauce (1 1/2 tbl)
sesame oil (1/2 tbl)
ground perilla seeds (3 tbl)

Soak dry seaweeds (1/4 cup) in water for 30 minutes. It will expand to fill over 1 cup.

When the seaweeds are slithery and smooth, wash them thoroughly and drain.

Chop beef (or use ground beef).

On high heat, glaze pot with sesame oil and ground beef and soy sauce.(1 1/2 tbl).

When the beef is cooked, add seaweeds.

Mix in ground perilla seeds (3 tbl).

Add water (4 cup), and on medium heat cook for 20-30 minutes. Season the soup with salt as needed.


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