I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so I have my share of vegetarian/vegan friends. I felt like they needed soup for childbirth recovery too and challenged myself to find the right one. That's when I learned about myeok guk, a vegan Korean soup that is made especially for post-natal recovery. This soup is part of the ritual of birth and care after birth. In fact, people often drink this soup on their birthdays to commemorate their mama.

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Ingredients

  • 3 oz. kombu seaweed. Kombu is the "meatiest" seaweed, and is often the thickest part of the kelp plant. 
  • 3 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed, peeled and chopped
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 3 oz. of dried wakame.  In Korea and Japan, wakame is traditionally used to purify a mother's blood after childbirth.
  • 4 packages (11 oz. each) of pressed plain tofu diced (pressed tofu is different than regular tofu, the package is usually a lot thinner)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sesame oil (Kadoya brand preferred!)
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Start making the dashi (broth) by adding some oil to the pot to sweat garlic (fry it but try not to burn it) . Add water, kombu, and shiitake mushrooms and bring it to boil. Simmer for an hour. 
  2. Prepare the seaweed and tofu. Rinse kombu and shiitake mushrooms and drain. Reconstitute the wakame in water. Drain and set aside. Dice the tofu and set aside. 
  3. Season the dashi with soy, sesame oil, and salt. 
  4. Stir in wakame and tofu and simmer for 5 minutes. 

You can make the dashi with many different of ingredients. I have used onions, carrots, and ginger in past batches. This is an area for experimentation until you get the flavor you seek. There are also versions where beef bones are used, but then it wouldn't be vegan!