If you fly to Korea internationally on a Korean airline (Korean Air or Asiana) there’s a good chance you’ll be served a seaweed soup called miyeok guk. This is actually a quick-cook version of miyeok guk that consists of dried seaweed and some bullion-type seasoning. Preparation is as simple as adding hot water to the mixture and waiting a few minutes for the seaweed to soften and the flavors to activate.

I like these instant soups, but making miyeok guk from scratch is surprisingly easy and a healthier alternative. Here’s the recipe:

Miyeok Guk (Seaweed Soup) — 미역국

Makes 4-6 servings


  • 1 cup sliced, dried seaweed (miyeok)*
  • ½ lb. lean beef, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 8 c. water
  • 1½ Tbsp. soy sauce**
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 chopped green onion (or 3 scallion stalks)

*It’s important to use the right type of seaweed for miyeok guk. You can find miyeok at Korean grocery stores and perhaps also at general Asian grocery stores. It’s sold in plastic bags (see photo above), is dark green and looks like dried tea leaves. If you buy pre-sliced miyeok, you won’t need to cut it into pieces yourself. If you can’t find miyeok near you, you can buy it on Amazon.com. However, it costs almost $9 a bag on Amazon, which is about 3 times the normal price.

**To make this recipe gluten free, I used San-J Organic Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (available at Whole Foods or on Amazon.com.)


  • Place dried seaweed in a big bowl and partially fill bowl with water, stopping about 2 inches from bowl rim. (Note: water does not need to be hot, or even warm. Cold tap water is fine.)
  • Soak seaweed for 30 minutes, until soft. Drain. You should have between 3½ and 4 cups of wet seaweed.
  • Pour sesame oil into large pot. Add beef, seaweed slices and garlic and stir fry for about 2 minutes.
  • Add water, soy sauce and salt to pot. Simmer mixture 20 minutes.
  • Add chopped green onion to pot just before serving.

[Recipe from “Korean Cooking”, an out-of-print cookbook created by the Korean Institute of Minnesota.]