Stifling the Sniffles: Korean Soups

Stifling the Sniffles: Korean Soups

Winter is fast approaching, and with the cold weather comes the inevitable sniffles. Whether it is just a brief cold from the changing of the seasons or a very uncomfortable case of the flu, a nice meal is sure to make you feel better.

Here are four warm and delectable soups to help pick you up when you are under the weather or just battling the cold winter days.

Samgyetang (삼계탕, sam-gye-tang), Chicken and Ginseng soup.

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First on our list is samgyetang, the Korean version of grandma’s chicken soup, that is made with a whole small chicken stuffed with glutinous rice, garlic, jujube (red dates), peeled chestnuts, and Korean ginseng. Traditionally, it is eaten by Koreans in the summer on the warmest days of the year, because it is believed to help regulate body temperatures, and they are not wrong! (Click here to read why!) They even have a saying that you must fight the heat with heat, 이열치열 (yi yeol chi yeol). However by losing this internal heat, your appetite reduces and you lack energy, but by eating this extremely nutritious dish, the internal warmth in the body is restored, giving you an energy boost. The ginseng in this dish is renowned for its medicinal properties such as boosting energy and the immune system. There is also an “Imperial Samgyetang” that contains seven medicinal herbs, so it will cost slightly more (about 3-4000 won more). So if you are feeling the sniffles of the autumn season, combat your fever with some samgyetang! Click here for an easy to follow recipe.

Kongnamulguk (콩나물국, kong-na-mul-guk), Soybean Sprout Soup.

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Next, we have kongnamulguk, or soybean sprout soup. This dish is eaten daily in some Korean households. It’s a simple, non-spicy soup that’s perfect for indigestion or when you’re feeling queasy. It is mostly made up of bean sprouts, anchovies, and other seasonings!  It is cheap, extremely easy to make, click here to see, and is packed full of nutrition. Kongnamulguk is light and healthy, high in vitamin C and low in calories and the roots of the bean sprouts contain a special chemical called asparagines which helps get over hangovers very quickly. If you prefer things on the spicy side, you can add hot pepper flakes or kimchi.

Miyeokguk (미역국, mi-yeok-guk), Seaweed Soup.

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Miyeokguk is made with a protein broth, most commonly beef broth, and miyeok (미역), or seaweed. In Korea, new moms are given this in the hospital because it is full of nutrients that help with postpartum recovery while also aiding the production of breast milk. Because of miyeokguk’s association with childbirth, it’s also a Korean tradition to eat it on birthdays. Nonetheless, you do not have to have a baby to enjoy this delicious soup. Seaweed is high in iodine, calcium, iron, magnesium and has more vitamin C than oranges. It’s the perfect soup to fight off a cold.

Juk (죽), Rice Porridge

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It's a Korean staple for the sick, especially those with stomach aches. It's made by slow-boiling rice that's been left out to soak in water for many hours. The soft, moist texture of the porridge is easily swallowed and digested. Many Koreans mix in different ingredients, such as pumpkin and abalone, and it is often enjoyed for breakfast or when recovering in the hospital. The grains are full of nutrients and help replenish the body’s needs. To add more of some restorative and medicinal qualities, Koreans like to add ginseng making it a power boosting meal. It’s also a popular baby food.

To learn more about juk, click here to read a SnackFever blog all about this staple Korean dish!

Hopefully, these four soups can bring a smile to your face, as well as to your immune system when battling the flu and colds that are increasingly present during this time of year. Keep an eye out for a part two next week!

Written by Lindsey Conley

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