It’s officially summer now with 90 degree days, yet I find myself craving a nice hot bowl of dak kalguksu, also known as Korean chicken noodle soup. Noodles swimming in a clean bowl of chicken soup, topped with chicken and seasoned with a soy sauce mixture…I’m drooling just thinking about it! The broth itself is incredibly easy to prepare so I took it one step further and made fresh noodles for the first time. The result was everything I wanted and more.
Dak Kalguksu (Korean Chicken Noodle Soup)
Broth1 3-lb whole chicken
5 garlic cloves
3 scallions, white ends only
1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorns
Noodles1 cup flour
1/3 cup cold water
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Soup1 zucchini sliced into half rounds, divided
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 garlic clove, grated
1/4 tsp ginger, grated
1/2 tsp gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 Idaho potato, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch half rounds
sesame seeds and green onions for garnish (optional)
Make the broth for the soup by combining the chicken - scallions in a large pot. Cover with enough water to cover the chicken. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Remove the chicken and let cool. Strain the broth, discarding the green onion, garlic, black pepper and ginger. Return soup to the pot and skim the fat.
Meanwhile, make the noodles. Combine the flour - vegetable oil in the bowl of stand mixer. Knead on low for 3 minutes; the dough should be smooth and elastic. Remove dough from the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let stand 30 minutes.
Combine half of the sliced zucchini with 2 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Let stand 20-30 minutes.
Remove the skin from the chicken. Shred the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Make the sauce for the soup by combining the soy sauce - 1/2 tsp sesame seeds. Set aside.
Add the sliced potato to the soup. Bring back to a boil over medium-high heat, covering the pot. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for another 20 minutes or until potatoes are done.
Generously dust work surface with flour. Unwrap dough and place on counter. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until paper thin, dusting more flour on the counter and dough when it starts to stick. Fold the dough into thirds, dusting more flour on the dough after each fold. Use a sharp knife and cut 1/4 inch wide strips. Unfold the strips and dust flour on the noodles to prevent them from sticking. Set aside.
Return to the salted zucchini. Rinse the zucchini with water and squeeze out any moisture. Heat 1 tsp oil in a nonstick pan. Add the zucchini and saute for 1-2 minutes or until cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
Add the other reserved zucchini to the soup. Bring the soup back to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and stir to prevent the noodles from sticking to one another. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until done. Remove from heat. Immediately portion the noodles into two bowls with soup, potatoes and zucchini. Top with the shredded chicken and sauteed zucchini. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Serve with sauce on the side.
Dak Kalguksu is very easy to prepare since the soup is made from chicken broth. Make fresh chicken broth at home instead of buying canned; trust me it’s a huge difference! You can always cook the broth the day before and reheat the next day.
Since a whole chicken is used for the broth, the fat from the skin of the chicken cooks out into the broth. Skim the top, removing as much fat as you can. It’s always easier to skim the fat when the soup is chilled, allowing the fat to harden on the surface.
Making the noodles for this soup is completely optional. Asian markets sell kalguksu noodles at reasonable prices and they are still of good quality; however, since I never made the noodles before I wanted to give it a try.
The dough is smooth, elastic and slightly tacky, making it very easy to handle. When rolling out the dough, dust more flour on the counter and on the dough when it starts to stick. You want the dough to be paper thin to avoid having too thick noodles.
When folding the dough, make sure to dust flour on the dough before folding to prevent it from sticking. All of this flour on the noodles will later help thicken the soup.
Fresh handmade noodles! Who would have thought it was this easy?
Now for the zucchini. The idea behind mixing it with the salt is to remove any moisture from the zucchini. After letting it sit for 30 minutes, you can already see the water that has come out. Saute to bring out the color and soften the zucchini.
Once you have the toppings, noodle and sauce ready, the soup is almost complete!
Make sure to keep an eye on the noodles since they will cook very quickly. You don’t want to overcook them or they will become gummy.
Dak kalguksu is seasoned at the table rather than in the kitchen. This allows the individual to season according to their palate.
Mmmhmm! My mouth was singing when the soup hit my lips. The broth was perfect, clean, simple and a little thick from the noodles. The noodles themselves were nice and soft; what a difference from store bought noodles! Thank goodness I made extra because I know I’m going to want another serving!