Kal Guksu – 칼국수 (Chicken Noodle Soup)
Kal Guksu – 칼국수 (Chicken Noodle Soup) is a light yet comforting and satisfying noodle soup. It’s perfect for a cold wintery day but also a popular summer dish for many in Korea. I share how to make your own incredible homemade Kalguksu 칼국수 noodles that are perfectly chewy and yummy. They are also a great fun activity to do with your family!
And don’t forget, #LifesDelicious, so enjoy it!
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- *Dough for Knife Cut Noodles (1 serving = 8 oz or 2 cups in volume)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup water
- 1.5 tsp water (extra water to make the dough work but as little as possible should be added)
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- *Anchovy Soup Broth
- 4 cup water
- 1/3 cup dried soup anchovies
- 1 Tbsp dried mini shrimps (optional)
- 1 piece dashima (kombu) kelp (about 2x3 inch for each piece)
- 1/2 tsp salt (Trader Joe's sea salt)
- 1 tsp Guk Ganjang (Korean Soup soy sauce)
- *Chicken Broth
- 4 cup chicken broth (fresh homemade chicken broth from baeksuk is best but canned broth should also be ok)
- *Beef Broth
- 4 cup beef broth (my gogiguk recipe will work best but you can also use bone broth)
- *Soup ingredients
- 2/3 cup zucchini or Korean hobak (matchsticks)
- 1/4 each yellow onion
- 1/3 cup potatoes (matchsticks - optional - can make the soup thick)
- 1 each green onion
- *Beef Topping
- 3 oz Ground Beef (or thin slices of beef, 3 oz = 1/4 cup)
- 1.5 tsp cooking sake or mirin
- 1.5 tsp soy sauce (jin ganjang or regular kikkoman)
- 1/2 tsp garlic (chopped or 1/2 amount in garlic powder)
- *Yangnyeom Ganjang (Green Chili Sauce)
- 1 Tbsp Jin Ganjang (soy sauce)
- 1.5 tsp Gochukaru (Red Chili Pepper powder)
- 2 tsp green chili pepper (putgochu or Jalapeno) (chopped - substitute shishito peppers (double amount) if you want mild sauce, adjust to your spice level)
- 1 tsp rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 1 Tbsp green onion (chopped)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp garlic (chopped)
- 1/8 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
How to make noodles (skip this if you are using store-bought)
- In a bowl, mix flour, salt, and water with a spatula, and then use your hands to form a ball. Make sure all the flour is incorporated into the dough. My recipe uses less water than most recipes so it may feel like there isn't enough water. The exact amount can change based on how dry your flour is but start with 1/4 cup + 1.25 tsp water per 1 cup of flour and see if you are able to form a dough. But if not, knead a few times to see if you really need more water and add a little bit more water (up to 1 tsp more).
- Once a dough ball has formed, sprinkle some flour on a counter or a board and then transfer the ball onto it. Knead about 10 times to make sure it forms one uniform dough. Cover with a plastic wrap or put it in a plastic bag and let it rest for 30 minutes or more. You can also make the dough a day in advance and let it rest in the fridge.
- When it has rested, take out the dough and knead for 2 minutes to warm up the dough. On a floured surface, roll out the dough using a rolling pin until it is about a 10x10 inch square or 8x11 rectangle. It doesn't really matter. If the dough sticks, sprinkle some flour on the rolling pin and on the board while rolling. Roll out until it's nice and thin - like you see in the picture.
- Sprinkle flour on the surface of the dough (so it doesn't stick to itself when rolled up) and fold the dough over from one side 4-5 times so you have layers. Cut gently with a knife (if you press hard, they will stick together so be careful) and immediately unfold and loosen the layers so they don't stick to each other. Sprinkle some more flour on the noodles and toss them so they are separated and well coated in flour. Set aside uncovered until you are ready to cook the noodles.
- Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer or a food processor to make your dough. But once the dough ball has formed, make sure you knead it by hand before letting it rest.
- Season ground beef with soy sauce, cook rice wine (mirin),
Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat and saute the beef until everything is fully cooked. Break up any big lumps if there are any. Set aside to top noodles with.
Spicy Kalguksu Dadaegi 다대기 Sauce
- In a small bowl, add green onions (reserve half to use as garnish later), chopped chili or shishito peppers, and add sesame oil. Mix well and coat everything with oil so they stay fresh longer.
Add remaining seasonings - soy sauce, vinegar, red chili powder (gochukaru), sugar, garlic, and a couple of dashes of black pepper. Set aside and serve with noodles.
- In a pot, add water, dried soup anchovies (guk myeolchi 국멸치), and kelp (dashima/kombu). Optionally add dried shrimp.
Simmer UNCOVERED, for 30 minutes while you make the noodles. Turn off the heat and let it rest. Let anchovies site in warm water - more flavors develop over time.
- Slice onions, zucchini, and optionally potato into matchsticks.
Chop all green onions, garlic, and green chili peppers OR shishito peppers. If using shishito peppers, double the amount.
Let's finish! (Kalguksu Noodle Soup should be eaten right away once cooked)
Remove and discard anchovies and kelp from the broth.
Bring broth to boil. Season broth with guk ganjang (soup soy sauce) and sea salt. Taste. Should be a little bit on the salty side since noodles will make it less salty.
- Once the broth starts to boil, add onions and lower the heat back to simmer for 5 minutes until onions start to become translucent.
- Turn the heat back on to medium-high and add zucchini and noodles. If using packaged noodles, follow instructions on the package during cooking time. Add some chopped garlic and green onions now or later, fresh, as toppings. (I like the stronger fresh flavor as fresh toppings).
Cook about 3- 5 minutes for homemade fresh noodles. For packaged Kalguksu noodles, follow the directions on the package - usually 5-7 minutes.
- Serve noodles and soup in a bowl with the spicy Dadaegi on the side. Top noodle soup with fresh green onions, ground beef, and optionally fresh chopped garlic and/or green chili peppers. Allow each person to add as much or as little as Dadaegi as they want.
Enjoy it with some Kimchi - especially Buchu Kimchi if you have it.
Substitute Beef, Chicken, Seafood broth for anchovy broth and you have a totally different dish! My favorite ready-made fresh noodles are Pulmuone noodles (pic below) and they need to be cooked for 5-6 minutes. If using my fresh homemade noodles, depending on how thin or thick you rolled out the dough, it will take about 3 minutes (for my very thin noodles in the pic) to 5 minutes. Just check the noodles by tasting them after 3 minutes and cook to your liking. Close to 3 minutes if you want al dente style and cook longer if you like softer noodles. The nutrition (especially sodium level) level for this recipe is really not accurate as it is hard to calculate the sodium level for broth when the actual ingredients like dried anchovies and shrimps are not eaten.