KOREAN MUSSEL SOUP

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Are you looking for a straightforward and mouthwatering way to inject some excitement into the upcoming meal you have planned? A traditional Korean broth, Honghap Tang, is created using mussels as the main ingredient. The components that are used in the making of this dish are fresh mussels, green onions, garlic, and salt. This dish is a popular choice in Korea, particularly when it is served as a side dish to the traditional Korean alcoholic beverage known as soju. Following the steps that are outlined in the following paragraphs will allow you to create your very own delicious Korean mussel soup.

How do you describe the dish known as Korean Mussels?
Shellfish, and more specifically mussels, are utilized rather frequently in Korean cuisine, notably in the making of dishes such as mussel soup and mussel stew due to their versatility. The process of cleaning them involves some work, despite the fact that it is not difficult to find them and they are not extremely expensive. You will have the chance to indulge in the most delicious mussels in Korean soup during the time period that coincides with the end of October and the beginning of spring. This is the time period in which you will have the option to do so.

KOREAN MUSSEL SOUP
KOREAN MUSSEL SOUP

“Honghap-Tang, otherwise referred to as 降합탕, is a soup that is both light and refreshing, and it is prepared using Korean mussels. The most well-known aspect of it is the scrumptious and luxurious milky broth that it is capable of producing. The fresh mussels, along with green onions, garlic slices, and salt, are boiled in water in order to make the mussel soup. Additional ingredients include garlic slices. This meal is considered to be one of the most popular accompaniments to the Japanese alcoholic beverage known as soju, which is popular in Korea.

MY BEST COOKING TIPS:
Here are some of my favorite tips for making the ideal Korean mussel soup.

You’ll need to buy mussels with shells to make the broth and soup. Frozen mussels, particularly those without shells, will not work as well in this recipe. The mussels I purchased are seen below: fresh blue mussels from a seafood establishment.

One of the most notable aspects of Korean mussel soup is its clear flavor. To achieve this, mussels should be carefully washed, including the removal of beards, to preserve their flavor. More cleaning techniques will be shared in the post following.

Instead of minced garlic, use sliced garlic. You may also use a disposable filter bag to store all of your fragrant vegetables, making it easy to discard once all of the flavor has been extracted. This will help to create a soup that is clear and easy to consume.
If you want to spice up the soup, add some sliced chilies at the end. However, do not use Thai chilies because their flavor profile does not work well with this soup. For optimum results, use Korean Cheongyang chili pepper (청양고추). That being said, I like this soup without chili so that I may enjoy its mild, refreshing flavor. Even a small bit of chili can have a tremendous impact on flavor.

HOW TO CLEAN MUSSELS
As I mentioned earlier, cleaning mussels is the most important step in making delicious, clean tasting soup. Read along for my suggestions.

KOREAN MUSSEL SOUP
KOREAN MUSSEL SOUP

1. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from broken shells. Add the mussels to a large bowl and run cold water over them. Throw away any shells that are broken or are cracked, then rinse the mussels thoroughly.

2. In running water, use another mussel shell to scrub the mussel shells clean of debris or seaweed. Be careful not to break the shells by using too much pressure while scrubbing. If there are any byssus threads (known as beards), grasp them firmly and pull towards the shell hinge until they come out.

3. Place all the cleaned mussels in a new bowl and rinse one more time with cold running water.

HOW TO STORE MUSSELS

If you have some fresh mussels that have already been cleaned following the steps above but not needing them for this soup, I suggest you steam them and then freeze them in a vacuum-sealed bag. They are best used within 2 to 3 months.

Then, I sometimes add these to my instant ramen noodles to elaborate the flavor, and it goes wonderfully. You can also add in any other dishes of your choice.

INGREDIENTS FOR KOREAN MUSSEL SOUP

  • 1 kg / 35 ounces shelled mussels, cleaned
  • 1 green onion, white part
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 7 cups water
  • 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • (Optional) chilies, green or red, thinly sliced and seeds removed, for garnish

* 1 Tbsp = 15 ml, 1 Cup = 250 ml

KOREAN MUSSEL SOUP
KOREAN MUSSEL SOUP

HOW TO MAKE KOREAN MUSSEL SOUP

1. In a large pot, add the mussels, green onions, garlic cloves, and water. Cook over medium-high heat until the mussels are fully cooked. (Mussels will open their shells once done. It takes 10 to 15 minutes. Discard any mussels that did not open.) Skim off any scum that forms.

2. Remove the green onion and garlic from the soup and add the white vinegar and salt.

3. Garnish the soup with chili peppers (optional), and serve it with steamed rice and other Korean side dishes. You can also serve this as a drinking snack with soju.

Instructions

Rinse the mussels under cold water and scrub them to remove any dirt or debris. Pull off the beards (the fibrous threads) from the mussels.

In a large pot, add water or seafood broth and bring it to a boil over medium heat.

Once the broth is boiling, add the sliced onion, minced garlic, sliced ginger, and green chili pepper (if using). Let it simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse into the broth.

Add the cleaned mussels to the pot and let them cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until they open up. Discard any mussels that do not open.

Once the mussels are cooked, add the chopped green onions, sliced zucchini, and carrot to the pot. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but still crisp.

Season the soup with soy sauce, salt, and pepper according to your taste preferences.

Remove the pot from heat and drizzle with a little bit of sesame oil for flavor.

Serve the Korean mussel soup hot, garnished with additional chopped green onions and Korean red pepper flakes if desired.

 

ALSO READ: KOREAN GROUND BEEF AND RICE BOWLS

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