Home Cooking: Dak Kalguksu

Home Cooking: Dak Kalguksu

This boiling hot noodle soup is a popular summertime dish in Korea.

Kalguksu literally means “knife noodles”, but it actually refers to a steaming hot noodle soup that’s traditionally made with handmade, knife-cut noodles.

There are many variations using different ingredients for the soup base or for the dough. Dak (chicken) kalguksu is made with a rich chicken broth, and shredded chicken meat.

For convenience, you can use commercially packaged fresh kalguksu noodles available in the refrigerated section of Korean markets. Parboil the noodles in a separate pot before adding to the chicken broth. Otherwise, the soup can get very thick from all the starch the noodles release while cooking.

Dak kalguksu is traditionally made with a whole chicken. It’s a cheap way to feed more people, not to mention the stock will be more flavorful. You can cut up a whole chicken before boiling if you want it to cook a little faster. If you want to use cut chicken pieces, leg quarters and chicken wings will be good for a flavorful stock.

For the soup:
1 small whole chicken, or bone-in cut pieces (about 1.2 kilogram)
1/2 medium onion
8 plump garlic cloves
3 to 4 thinly sliced ginger pieces
2 white parts of scallions
1 3-inch square dried kelp
1/4 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon soup soy sauce

For the meat:
1 teaspoon minced garlic
salt (about 1/2 teaspoon) and pepper to taste

For the vegetables:
1 medium zucchini, julienned
2 scallions, finely chopped

For the noodles:
1 package fresh kalguksu noodles

For the sauce (Yangnyumjang) – Optional:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 – 3 scallions, finely chopped

Place the cleaned chicken in a stockpot large enough to hold the chicken and 12 cups of water. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and scallions, and 12 cups water. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Skim off any foam on top. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes. Adjust cooking time for cut pieces.

Sprinkle the julienned zucchini with salt for about 15 minutes and squeeze out the water. Briefly sauté in a heated pan with a little bit of oil. Set aside.

Cut through the thickest part of the breast, with a knife, to see if the chicken is cooked and tender. Turn the heat off and carefully remove the chicken.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat off the bones. Shred the meat into small bite size pieces. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to the chicken. Combine well.

Strain the broth and remove the excess fat. You can line the strainer with a paper towel or use a fat separator.

Return the broth back to the pot. Add the dried kelp, onion slices, and soup soy sauce. Bring it to a boil and boil for a few minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove the kelp.

Meanwhile, in another pot, boil water to cook the noodles. Parboil the noodles.

Remove the noodles with a strainer and add to the pot with the broth.

Continue to boil until the noodles are cooked through.

To serve, ladle the noodles and soup in a serving bowl, top with the chicken pieces, zucchini and chopped scallion.

For more recipes visit www.koreanbapsang.com.


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