Recipes

Homestyle chicken noodle soup

Dak-kalguksu 닭칼국수

I’m sharing my family’s all-time favorite food with you today, chicken noodle soup – dak-kalguksu in Korean. The word kal means knife and guksu means noodle soup, indicating that the noodles in this soup are made by cutting them from the dough.

There are many kinds of kalguksu, but this version is made with chicken (dak in Korean). The noodles are made from scratch, which makes this dish very special and welcome in any home. You can picture a housewife kneading dough, the chicken broth boiling in a huge pot on the stove behind her, giving off a great aroma, filling the whole house, and her family excited about the upcoming noodle soup.

“Mom, is it ready yet??”
“Can I help you knead the dough?”

This dish always reminds me of good times with my relatives, siblings, parents, neighbors, and friends. Kalguksu is a very social dish and this is something we used to make when we had a lot of people over. Everyone could pitch in and help, especially to make the noodles.

In this recipe I use a half cup of starch in the dough, which is optional and can be replaced with flour. But you should use starch because it makes a big difference in the noodles. There’s a great kalguksu place here in New York City that has chewy and firm noodles that never go soggy no matter how long they’re in the broth. I couldn’t figure out how they did it! Of course I did a lot of experiments at home and discovered that a bit of starch did the trick. If you’re a hardcore cook & noodle lover, you’ll absolutely be able to tell the difference between noodles made with starch and without.

This recipe serves 4, but if you want to make 2 servings, just use only half the dough this time, and keep the other half in the fridge for more kalguksu or something else. Divide the chicken stock, too, and keep half in the fridge for later.

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 16 cups water
  • 16 peeled garlic cloves (about ½ cup)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • 3½ cup all purpose flour, plus ⅓ cup flour to dust
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into matchsticks (about 1½ cup)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • vegetable oil
  • sesame oil
  • salt
  • fish sauce (or soup soy sauce)
  • ground black pepper

Directions
Start the broth:

  1. Put water, chicken breast, garlic, and onion in a large stock pot and boil for 1 hour over high heat.
    Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)

While it boils, make the noodle dough:

  1. Combine flour, starch, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and 1¼ water in a large bowl.
  2. Mix with a wooden spoon to form a lump. Knead it by hand until it forms as ball. Put it into a plastic bag, seal it, and let it sit in the fridge or on the kitchen counter for 10 minutes.
    Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)
  3. Take the dough out of the plastic bag, knead it for 2 to 5 minutes, and then put it back in. Kneading it in stages like this, and storing it in the plastic bag between sessions will make it soft and pliable with a minimum of effort.
    Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)

Prepare the zucchini:

  1. Combine the zucchini matchsticks with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Squeeze the excess water out by hand and sautee with a few drops of vegetable oil in a pan. Set aside.
    Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)

Finish the stock:

  1. After an hour of boiling, remove from the heat. Strain. The stock will be about 13 cups at this point and it should look clear but a little milky.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons fish sauce (or soup soy sauce) or to taste. Mix well and put it back to the stock pot. Set aside.
    Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)

Make garlic seasoning paste:

  1. Collect the cooked garlic into a small bowl and mash it with a spoon. Add 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Pull the chicken into thin strips with your fingers and mix it in with the garlic mixture. Set aside.
     Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)

Make noodles:

  1. Take out the dough and knead it again for a couple of minutes until it’s really smooth. Divide the dough into 2 balls.
  2. Dust a large cutting board or clean kitchen table with flour and put the dough on it. Roll it out with a rolling pin to a circle about 18 inches wide and 1/16 inch thick (1 or 2 mm). Flip it over occasionally to make it even, round, and flat. If you need to, sprinkle some flour on it when you flip, to keep it from sticking.
     Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수) Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)
  3. Evenly spread some flour on the dough, and fold it over 3 or 4 times. Cut it into thin noodles, about 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle some flour on them, and gently mix them up to separate them and spread the flour evenly.
  4. Make noodles with the other ball of dough but repeating the steps above.
     Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수) Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수) Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)

Make soup:

  1. Bring the stock to a boil and add the noodles. Stir with a wooden spoon and cover.
  2. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes until all the noodles float and some bubbles form on the surface. Remove from the heat.
  3. Ladle into large individual bowls. Put some zucchini on the center of each bowl and add some chicken. Sprinkle some chopped green onion over top, and serve immediately with kimchi and few more side dishes if you have them. Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수) Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수) Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)

To make spicy version:

  1. Combine 2 table spoons hot pepper flakes and 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a small bowl. Mix well and serve. When you eat, add some of the mixture to your noodle soup and eat.
     Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)

 Korean chicken noodle soup (Kalguksu: 칼국수)

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41 Comments:

  1. tpdullum Northwest Washington State My profile page joined 8/12
    Posted November 11th, 2014 at 10:06 pm | # |

    Just made this for the first time. My nephew and the Hong Kong student didn’t talk very much during the meal. They were too busy eating to make small talk. I had always assumed home made noodles would be too much work but it turned out to be pretty easy. I don’t think it will take them very long to ask for it again.

  2. mrskimchi san francisco My profile page joined 6/13
    Posted July 31st, 2014 at 7:08 pm | # |

    Maangchi!! My noodles seemed fine until I went to cook them, and then they stuck together! What should I do??

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted August 4th, 2014 at 12:06 pm | # |

      oh, after adding the noodles to the boiling soup, you need to stir it so that the noodle won’t stick together.
      Step 1 “make soup”
      “Bring the stock to a boil and add the noodles. Stir with a wooden spoon and cover.”

    • danielhong81 United States My profile page joined 10/14
      Posted October 2nd, 2014 at 2:07 am | # |

      if you make them fresh, make sure you flour them well so they dont stick. I like to chill mine in the fridge for an hour first. make sure your water is boiling hard and toss them in. make sure you keep stirring them so they dont stick. Since there is a lot of flour the broth will thicken. the trick is to keep stirring and making sure they dont sit on the bottom of the pot. If you have an asian market, try buying these http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-6Q3FV3jDaUE/T1VQ4I9WXiI/AAAAAAAABAY/N2kzCfZxyag/s1600/5-2.jpg
      good luck!

  3. Emka Poland My profile page joined 7/14
    Posted July 21st, 2014 at 2:37 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!^^
    Thank you for your recipe! I’ve really wanted to eat this soup again, but I didn’t know the name of it. Few years ago, when I was in Korea, I ate it in Korean folk village near Seoul. I was feeling really bad that day, I think that I had a flu, and when I saw photo of this soup on the menu, I really wanted to try it. It looked like typical polish soup named “rosół”, which we always eat if we have cold. And this soup gave me a lot of strength and I felt like at home. And now, after few years, I found this recipe on your site and I KNEW that this is the soup which I remember. So I made it and I fell in love with this recipe, even if my noodles were too sticky :) After that I made this soup for my parents as well and they loved it. Today my mum called me to ask for the recipe, because she wants to make it as well!

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted July 21st, 2014 at 9:40 pm | # |

      wow that’s a great story! It sounds like you have been looking for this recipe for years and now you pass it on to your mom! I’m glad you like my recipe!

  4. Vibey Melbourne, Australia My profile page joined 4/12
    Posted July 18th, 2014 at 10:56 pm | # |

    Maangchi, this is beautiful. Chicken noodle soup makes me emotional too: it’s my ultimate comfort food because it reminds me of my mother, and being taken care of. Plus it’s so delicious! I have followed in my mother’s footsteps, and my children and stepchildren love chicken noodle soup, too. It’s the first thing they ask for when it’s cold, or when they get sick!

    I am glad you found the starch trick and will try it. From what I understood, the chewy, bouncy Asian noodles get that special texture from lye water. This can be dangerous to work with (plus not available in many countries because it is illegal). I saw a recipe that replaced the lye water with denatured baking soda, but starch is much easier! Thank you!

    By the way, I wonder if you have a pressure cooker? I’m a recent convert to them, and one of the things I love best about them is that I can make a delicious stock or broth in just 20 minutes!

  5. jinaloveskimchichigae San Francisco, CA My profile page joined 7/14
    Posted July 15th, 2014 at 3:20 pm | # |

    How long can I store the dough (in plastic bag) before rolling it out?.
    I would like to prepare the broth and dough ball first then come back 4 hours later and prepare the rest for dinner.
    Thank you!

    • Vibey Melbourne, Australia My profile page joined 4/12
      Posted July 18th, 2014 at 10:58 pm | # |

      You can store noodle dough in the refrigerator for up to a week. It may look a little greyish on the outside, but it’s still perfectly good and safe to eat, and the greyness disappears once you start rolling it out.

  6. Cutemom Indonesia My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted July 4th, 2014 at 10:26 am | # |

    Hi, Maangchi ssi!
    I was referring back to the flour measurement of the noodle. I made the noodle using high protein flour and starch flour. Since it has no egg in the dough, I triple the amount and gave 1/3 to my vegan friend. She was really impressed by the chewiness.

    I froze all my remaining portioned out noodles and soup stock. That way I’ll always have quick meal ready in 15 min. I do the same with all of your other recipes such as Gamjatang, seollongtang and yukgaejang. For Gamjatang, i only make the soup stock seasoned with the sauce then froze. Whenever I want some gamjatang, i just need to buy kaenip and add fresh slightly aged kimchi + green onion. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.

    I also like to use your seollongtang as a base for miyeokguk.

  7. C-Rowles Boston, Massachusetts My profile page joined 5/14
    Posted May 3rd, 2014 at 2:06 pm | # |

    Hi, Maangchi! Lately I’ve been cooking for a friend, so that she and her husband don’t have to worry about cooking while taking care of their newborn baby. Recently they asked me to make chicken soup, and of course I used your recipe! I reduced the amount of garlic and onion by a lot at their request, but I used other herbs to make up for it. I also added chopped carrots and celery to the broth.

    My friend doesn’t cook a lot, so she was really impressed by the handmade noodles. This was the first time I had made noodles, but your recipe was fun and easy to follow, and I can’t wait to make them again. The starch makes them so chewy and springy, and the look of handmade noodles in the clear broth is really special. Thank you so much, Maangchi!

  8. marimarin9 Boston, MA, USA My profile page joined 4/14
    Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 6:40 pm | # |

    Hi Maanghci~
    I just made this recipe tonight, and my family loved it!
    My mom had bought a whole chicken so I doubled the amount of soup which turned out super delicious!
    Here is a photo~
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/123871945@N08/13965077336/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/123871945@N08/14008179023/in/photostream/

  9. CatnGeek Paris My profile page joined 4/14
    Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 1:19 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi ^^ first time commenting here.
    I tried the recipe twice already and my husband finally said “it’s really good” (never said that before about my cooking before xD) so thank you for that.
    I’m french and live in Paris so it was a little hard at first with the “cup” thing, so i bought some online, also looked for the exact same flour than you (quite a challenge here) but i still have some problem with the noodles, at the end when i cut them, they still stick together, it’s really hard to break them appart. The dough seems ok though, not sticky at all. Should i try to add more flour ?
    Anyway thanks again, it’s now one of my favorite, i’ll cook it again and again to improve my noodles ^^ my husband is chinese so i have taken a great liking to asian food especially “home” ones like yours.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 4:12 pm | # |

      “The dough seems ok though, not sticky at all. Should i try to add more flour ?” yes, I would sprinkle some more flour. Happy cooking!

  10. Vinthundar Horseyville My profile page joined 4/14
    Posted April 22nd, 2014 at 9:57 pm | # |

    Maangchi-ssi – This soup is wonderful. Perfect. Perhaps the greatest soup in the universe. I have made it 4 times already. The flavors as they combine in its steamy goodness … it is a great symphony of flavor, a marriage of love of flavors.

    I had a lot of fun making my own noodles using my grandmother’s ancient wooden board, and it brought back many happy memories of how she showed her love for us by making fresh noodles.

    I hated this terrible cold winter USA 2014, but I fear winter no longer, knowing I have this soup to see me through the harshest days. I will make a gift of it to anyone who is not feeling well.

    My deepest gratitude for your generosity sharing these recipes and your hard work on the website and the videos.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 12:01 pm | # |

      “a marriage of love of flavors…” haha, I should remember this line!
      Thank you so much for your nice words!

  11. Cutemom Indonesia My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted April 18th, 2014 at 1:07 am | # |

    Maangchi ssi,

    I tried this recipe since I got left over kalguksu in my freezer and some chicken stock that I always make whenever I got chicken bones from filleting all the chicken meat. It is awesome as usual. I also make fresh noodles after I tried it once with my leftover frozen noodles. My kids love it. I always bring them food to eat after school when I go pick them up.

    Sometimes they will request certain dishes they want to eat after school. Their favorite for the rain season here is hotteok and naengmyeon for the really hot and dry season. Last week I made lots of kimbap, dakgangjeong and tokpokki for my daughter to go on a picnic with her girlfriends. It was cute how they discussed korean idols over some korean snacks. I will take pictures next time.

    Thanks for all of your awesome recipes.
    Ima.

    • Maangchi New York City My profile page joined 8/08
      Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 12:04 pm | # |

      Thank you for sharing your cute stories! Your children will always remember your delicious food when they grow up. “My mom’s food is the best!” : )

  12. molmollaj Leicester My profile page joined 4/14
    Posted April 11th, 2014 at 5:59 pm | # |

    Hi Maangchi!

    I’ve been following your recipe for 2 years and I’m in love with Korean dishes now! haha

    I just wanna ask you for this dish, can I use corn starch instead of potato starch? Thanks! :D

  13. NatSuarez USA My profile page joined 10/13
    Posted April 8th, 2014 at 10:49 am | # |

    Wow! Looks really delicious! I really want to try to make it :)
    Do you think it is ok to use chicken thigh?
    Thank you so much for the recipe

  14. Maryanne365 Sydney, Australia My profile page joined 3/14
    Posted April 7th, 2014 at 9:44 am | # |

    Yumm~~ you don’t know how excited I was to watch this video Maangchi xD
    By chance, do you know how to make hand-pulled noodles? If you do, please make a video! I bet it will be very entertaining to watch! ^^

  15. cranberry Denmark My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted April 2nd, 2014 at 9:43 am | # |

    Hi Maangchi,

    Is there any reason why you didn’t use food processor to knead the dough?

  16. Miss Kim78 socali My profile page joined 3/13
    Posted April 1st, 2014 at 2:23 pm | # |

    Yum! It’s before lunchtime for me and I am craving kalguksu now! When I was growing up, my grandma used to make kalguksu often. And I don’t think I’ve had kalguksu that matched up to hers. I’ve actually been searching for good kalguksu places in my area, but most are just meh. I’ll have to try making it soon. My (paternal) grandma was a good cook, my mom is a horrible cook, and me…thankfully I didn’t take after my mom’s culinary talents haha.

  17. jaylivg Houston My profile page I'm a fan! joined 7/10
    Posted April 1st, 2014 at 11:39 am | # |

    Looks so delicious Maangchi !! Esp ,the spicy version .. i am going to have to try the spicy version soon !!

  18. Souavarat Houston, Texas My profile page I'm a fan! joined 9/10
    Posted April 1st, 2014 at 2:47 am | # |

    Oh so yummy looking Maangchi! I love kalguksu! The last picture with the chili mixing in with the noodles look so mouth watering. I will have to try making the noodles from scratch. I love going to a local Korean noodle house and i always order their spicy seafood kalguksu. Amazing!

  19. Vinthundar Horseyville My profile page joined 4/14
    Posted March 31st, 2014 at 8:56 pm | # |

    I cannot wait to try the Korean version of this classic comfort food. I bet it will be the best soup in the world. Seeing you make noodles brought back memories of when my grandmother made homemade noodles – it was a treat. I will be thinking of both of you as I make my first noodles.

    Thanks, Maangchi!

  20. Zulumom Concord, CA My profile page joined 9/13
    Posted March 31st, 2014 at 8:37 pm | # |

    Wow…this recipe looks amazing. This is something I crave occasionally but I didn’t have a good recipe for it till now! Homemade noodles make this so special!!! And I love chicken broth!! Thanks so much for sharing this fantastic recipe, Maangchi!!! xoxo

  21. jhm Massachusetts My profile page joined 3/14
    Posted March 31st, 2014 at 8:08 am | # |

    At the risk of being foolish, do you think that the noodle shop could be using alkaline noodles (like ramen)? Even if not, if you have any recipes for alkaline/ramen noodles, I would love to see it.

  22. ina78 Jerteh, Terengganu, Malaysia My profile page I'm a fan! joined 4/09
    Posted March 31st, 2014 at 8:07 am | # |

    What kind of starch can I use?

  23. xelloss1989 United States My profile page joined 1/13
    Posted March 31st, 2014 at 2:17 am | # |

    Kalguksu!!!! Finally!!!! Maangchi you don’t know for how long I have been waiting for this. I loved your sujebi recipe, and ever since then I was looking for recipe for kalguksu. When I was visiting my parents-in-law in Seoul, we visited a friend and his wife served us Kalguksu with makgeoli… Best~~
    Gonna try it soon!

  24. Spunkyminky Los Angeles My profile page joined 3/14
    Posted March 31st, 2014 at 12:13 am | # |

    hi Maangchi! I love Korean food and been making lots of Korean dishes thanks to you!
    Soondubu, yukkejjan, seaweed salad, bean sprout banchan, etc! My local favorite Korean restaurant has a very similar chicken noodle soup like this one and they’re delicious so I’m so glad you posted this recipe. This will be my next Korean food challenge!

    Question:
    Do you think the dough will be okay if I freeze half of it and use it another time? I’ve never made my own noodles before so I don’t know how it’s going to turn out if I froze it.

    Happy cooking!

  25. angelamckq Syracuse, NY My profile page joined 3/14
    Posted March 30th, 2014 at 1:46 pm | # |

    My husband had never tried Korean food… and didn’t want to UNTIL I made some of your recipes. Now… my WHOLE FAMILY is addicted to Korean food… but mostly, we are addicted to your recipes! :) We really are your big fans in Syracuse, Maangchi! If you are ever here, we want to host you! <3 Thank you for sharing your talents and sweet spirit!

  26. stonefly Olympia WA My profile page joined 11/11
    Posted March 30th, 2014 at 12:43 pm | # |

    Oh, Maangchi, what a wonderful soup! I must make this today – it has been so cold and rainy, but is sunny now, tho still cold. Of course, I will make the spicy version. ; 0 )

    Your tears of joy are amazing! Wow, what feeling. So real and so touching. Wow!

    Have a great day, Maangchi!


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