Chicken Kalguksu (Korean Chicken Soup with Handcut Noodles)

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My newfound curiosity and love for pasta making got me to thinking about how I could apply it to Korean cuisine. As I began to google furiously for Korean noodle recipes, my thoughts turned to my good friend Sarah. She and I are former co-workers and the story is kind of amusing. When I learned that she would be joining the team, I was told by many of my colleagues that I would love her and that we had a lot in common. All I knew about her was that she was smart and Korean and we apparently looked alike (I mean, c’mon, really?). I was not in the office on her first day as she was paraded around the organization for introductions and when I returned the next day, she greeted me by telling me she was my doppelgänger. For those of you who don’t know me, this is kind of my horror story, a really forward person who assumes that because the pieces are there that we are going to be friends. I was scared.

From there, volunteers and community members would call her Meredith. And when I would go somewhere that she had been previously, people would insist that it had been me. People would insist that they were right. Like I wouldn’t know if I went to an event the evening prior? And that she doesn’t know her name? As if either of us had enough time or inclination to actually try and dupe everyone, like a modern day “Parent Trap”? Yes, this is sad, but a true story.

Fast forward three years later and she is actually one of my closest friends. We are both Korean, but in many ways, more American than Korean. Aside from both being outspoken and independent, we love, love food, especially from the heart, comforting Korean food. She lamented that her mom never taught her how to make her favorite foods, because as she suspected, was so that she would have to return to Ohio to see her. After one Christmas holiday, her brother had given her a copy of “The Kimchee Chronicles” cookbook and her mother was completely horrified. And that was the motivation for her mom to begin the cooking lessons. 🙂

She talked wistfully of a noodle soup, Kal Gook Su, a homemade noodle soup in an anchovy broth and how even after eating a full meal, she could always find room for this light dish. I am not yet brave enough to attempt the anchovy broth so I needed an alternative and so I discovered Chicken Kalgooksu.

Homemade, handcut noodles in a rich, homemade chicken stock topped with fresh sautéed zucchini and carrots and a spicy scallion, garlic, and sesame sauce. You take the extra, moist chicken from the stock and dip in this sauce as you slurp up the tender, light noodles. It is absolutely delicious.

If you decide noodle making is not your thing or you’re short on time, these wide noodles can be purchased in the Asian market or use a linguini or fettucini. But if you feel motivated, try making the noodles… You won’t be sorry.

Stock:

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces (you can buy it this way from the store). Remove all skin except for that on the wings (I find it too fatty otherwise).
  • 1 large onion, quartered, skin on
  • 3 large cloves garlic, smashed with skin on
  • 2 large carrots, halved
  • 2 stalks celery, halved with leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Fill a large stockpot or dutch oven with water and add all ingredients. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer, covered and cook for 3-4 hours. If it reduces too much, add a cup of water periodically. Drain broth through a colander. Shred the chicken and toss the vegetables in the trash.

Noodles:

  • 1 1/2 C. flour, plus more for dusting/kneading
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 C. warm water

In a bowl, combine the ingredients and mix thoroughly. If it seems too dry, add a little more water. Turn out onto clean shelf, dusted with flour. Knead dough by using your the heels of your hands, folding in half and turning a quarter turn clockwise and repeat. Knead for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and doesn’t stick to the counter. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and rest for at least 30 minutes.

On a well floured surface, roll dough out with a rolling pin to about a quarter inch thickness or thinner. Flour the dough well and roll up. Flour your knife and cut the dough into strips about the width of fettucini. Separate the noodles and use more flour to make sure they don’t stick. If you have a drying rack, lay the noodles across to keep from sticking.

Veggies:

  • 1/2 zucchini, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned

Cook over medium high heat in a drizzle of sesame oil, until just soft. You still want a little crunch.

Topping:

  • 2 T. gochujaru (Korean chili powder)
  • 3 T. soy sauce
  • 1/4 C. finely minced scallion
  • 2 T. sesame oil
  • 1 T. toasted sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.

Cook the noodles in the chicken stock for 2 minutes. Spoon the soup with noodles into bowls, top with shredded chicken, veggies, and spicy sauce.

Notes:

  • You could also make a thin folded egg omelet and add to top. Scramble 3 eggs, add 1 T. water, 1 T. sesame oil and pour into a nonstick skillet with 1 T. vegetable oil over medium heat. As the egg cooks, gently fold the omelet three times. Slice thinly.
  • Gluten Free: I don’t know how to make the noodles, but it would be delicious with the stock and just the chicken and veggies!

 

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One thought on “Chicken Kalguksu (Korean Chicken Soup with Handcut Noodles)

  1. Liz March 12, 2013 at 6:09 am Reply

    Very tasty. And a well done blog I detected by that recipe, my compliments. Btw that recipe or another one of Yours with pasta would be nice for that Pasta-Blog-Event http://collezionepasta.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/mini-blog-event-today-pasta/ Feel welcome to take part until March 18th , kind regards, Liz

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