This traditional Korean soup is made every birthday. Eating this soup on your birthday is akin to blowing out candles on your birthday cake. Cake was optional growing up, having this soup was not. This soup is also what you make for new mothers. It’s special because it’s rarely available on a menu, even at Korean restaurants, and if it is, it's never as good as your mother’s recipe because time is really what gives it its flavor.
This vegan version is intensely simple and requires 5 essential ingredients but the end result is a very rich, umami-filled broth with warm seaweed and mushroom flavors. Prep takes about 10 minutes, simmer for the full 45 if you have the time. Otherwise, 30 minutes will work too! —Julia
Korean Chili Flakes (gochugaru) - optional