Pan-Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops in a Korean Seaweed Soup

미역국 korean seaweed soup, miyeok guk, miyuk guk
Pan-Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops in a Korean Seaweed Soup

Traditionally this satisfying soup is savored by Korean mothers who have just given birth as a restorative meal, to replenish vitamins and nutrients. Consequently, it is also enjoyed on one’s birthday, as a way to commemorate that special day.  Here, the addition of some gorgeous huge Atlantic Sea Scallops definitely adds to the celebration!

This soup, miyeok guk or miyuk guk, is simple but super-flavorful and the scallops add a luxurious component. It’s made with seaweed known as miyeok in Korean/wakame in Japanese, lots of garlic and ground pork  in an ocean-y broth. It is garnished with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil, a sprinkling of crunchy sesame seeds, while a restrained amount of Korean red chile flakes called gochugaru adds a lively quality. The scallops are seasoned with Kosher salt and seared in a hot pan with just a bit of canola oil to let their natural flavor shine.

Miyeok Guk Recipe

how to make miyuk guk, miyeok guk

  • 1/3 lb. ground pork
  • 6 garlic cloves, shaved
  • 4 c. water
  • 1 T. fish sauce
  • 1 T. low sodium light soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. miyeok or cut dried wakame, rinsed if necessary
  • fresh ground pepper
  • salt if needed

In a traditional Korean clay pot (or soup pot) over medium heat, brown the pork in a drizzle of canola oil. Remove any excess fat. Add garlic, stir, and cook for about a minute or two. Add cold filtered water and bring to a boil. Add fish sauce, soy sauce, and cut dried seaweed. Lower the heat and simmer about 20 minutes. Season with plenty of fresh ground pepper and salt if necessary.

Pan-Seared Sea Scallops

how to cook jumbo scallops

Today, the Atlantic sea scallop population is near record highs and the fishery operates at sustainable levels. As of May 1, 2013, scallop vessels in the Mid-Atlantic must use a Turtle Deflector Dredge in places and times where sea turtles occur on scallop grounds. The Turtle Deflector Dredge excludes sea turtles from being caught in the dredge and prevents serious injuries to the turtles. (From FISHWATCH here).

how to cook pan-seared sea scallops

Season cold dry scallops with Kosher salt. Heat a stainless steel saute pan over high heat. Add canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is very hot and just about to smoke, place the scallops in the pan. Be sure not to crowd the scallops. Cook over high heat for exactly two minutes to form a nice caramelized crust. Flip the scallops over with a pair of tongs, and cook for one minute only. Serve immediately.

미역국 korean seaweed soup, miyeok guk
Ladle soup into warm shallow bowls. Drizzle toasted sesame oil over the soup. Arrange scallops in the soup. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and gochugaru (Korean red chile flakes). Serve with steamed white rice and kimchi on the side.

chopstick rest bud vase

A cutting-edge company called Crucial Detail makes this Chopstick Rest / Bud Vase for Grant Achatz’s Alinea restaurant in Chicago. Elegant flowers or aromatic herbs can be placed in the bud vase while it is simultaneously functional as a rest for chopsticks or as a porte-couteau. I received a set of this fabulous serviceware as a gift from my brother and sister-in-law. Merci beaucoup! Here, Mexican heather sprigs with their tiny pink flowers from my garden made for a delightful presentation.

how to make miyuk guk with seafood
미역국  Korean Birthday Soup

Happy Birthday To You!

11 thoughts on “Pan-Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops in a Korean Seaweed Soup”

  1. You always introduce readers to exotic ingredients and flavors. This soup is a perfect example and I love the “luxurious” addition of those perfectly seared scallops.

  2. Oh my, what a perfect base for scallops! I just have to find a way to find wakame here in the country! Also, I have a strong tendency to keep away from anything ‘Atlantic’, ie ‘farmed’. Perhaps you are making me think twice! Thank you!!

  3. I was about to make a comment about the chopstick rest! I love the little vase idea and so pretty! Your pan-seared scallops have a perfect char. Your attention to details for the food is simply amazing and inspiring! This looks delicious!!

  4. I think we all agree that the chopstick rest is a winner. Thanks also for the info regarding scallop vessels. This is a lovely soup and celebratory soup. Beautiful photos, as always.

  5. Just cooked the miyeok guk and slurped up 2/3 straightaway with a small bowl of rice. So good! Perfect meal for a rainy day. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to make this over and over again!!

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