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
  • toasted sesame oil
  • kosher 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 kosher salt, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, and 1¼ cup 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 kosher 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 kosher 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 kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons toasted 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 toasted 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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110 Comments:

  1. edalyng Germany joined 12/22 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!!
    I think I tried more than 50 of your recipes over the years. I think it’s safe to say that learned cooking from you. This recipe took a lot of time to prepare, but in the end it was the one dish that made me most proud. Thank you very much for sharing your joy, your recipes with us. You made me a much happier person and I hope you get all the joy you gave us back. I have eaten this really well ^^


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  2. Manuela Scattareggia Argentina joined 11/22 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! Made this today again and its honestly my favourite! I love this recipe so much and I also want to thank you because the way you explain how to do these incredible korean recepies is very simple but so useful to me! Thank you so so so much! Love from Argentina!!
    P.S: I added a bit a bit of green onion and sriracha to mine and it tastes divine! Thank you sooooo much!!


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  3. mellowhen Vancouver joined 8/22 & has 1 comment

    My hubby is sick with Covid this week and I made this for him to help his sore throat and warm him up! It was delicious, thank you! I’ve never thought of putting zucchini in chicken soup (I hate the traditional western addition of celery) but this will be a go-to from now on. I made mine spicy. :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 564 comments

      “I made this for him to help his sore throat and warm him up! ” Awesome!

      Adding some shredded zucchini (any green tender squash) to kalguksu or any noodle soup is always good. It gives a good texture and flavor without overpowering the taste.

  4. KoreanGF Sydney joined 7/21 & has 7 comments

    This recipe best suit winter month! Match with homemade kimchi from your recipe too you are the best @maangchi. Thank you so much ❤️


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  5. KoreanGF Sydney joined 7/21 & has 7 comments

    Lunch today. The taste is amazing.

    Thank you so much for your recipe Maangchi.


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  6. Ivyla Portland, OR joined 2/21 & has 1 comment

    This was so delicious. I didn’t think I could make the noodles, but it turned out so well! Thank you Maangchi!


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  7. sanne Munich joined 8/14 & has 308 comments

    I made the spicy version today, but since I can’t roll out a large amount of dough at once, I made noodles similar to sujebi using the mandu-pi method.
    I used cornstarch instead of potato starch and 2 Tbs more water, more onions and a piece of leek in the already rich broth I had and skipped the zucchini and the green onions.
    Chicken legs instead of breast. Wonderful!

    I use a Chinese method for cooking chicken: Bring water with onion or stock to a boil, add the chicken (or parts) which should be submerged, bring to a boil again, let it cook gently for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the chicken in the covered pot for 30 minutes more or longer. Take it out, let it cool, remove the bones.

  8. Luth Indonesia joined 10/20 & has 1 comment

    Maangchi I did it, thanks a lot for a guidance


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  9. Bat7rose Israel joined 7/20 & has 1 comment

    Loved making these noodles and so chewy and yummy!!(: thanks(:


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  10. Heathert7900 Mid-Atlantic US joined 7/20 & has 1 comment

    Just made this for my hesitant American family, and they absolutely loved it! Nothing left in the pot! The noodles came out well and the flavor was delicious.


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  11. helenj London joined 5/20 & has 2 comments

    I made this today and it was delicious! Soup was so tasty (only difference is, I used chicken carcass instead of breast). Loved the chewy noodles too :) can’t wait to make it again. Thanks Maangchi! I’m enjoying your recipes so much these days.


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  12. mklc France joined 5/20 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi, my noodles broke into pieces when I boiled them. What’s wrong with them? :(

  13. Chickpea NJ joined 3/20 & has 1 comment

    Can you please link the plastic bags and gloves you use?

    Thank you for this recipe! I’ve made 3x using store bought noodles and next time will try hand-making the noodles!

  14. Afiqah Ab Rashid MALAYSIA joined 7/19 & has 1 comment

    I’ve made this today but I think I cut my noodle too big. Gonna make it again for sure. Thank you for the marvellous recipe


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  15. Julieloveskfood Philippines joined 3/19 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi,

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes. I want to make this but I am wondering if I can use corn starch instead of potato starch. Thanks in advance for your response.

  16. XXanimeseekerXX North Carolina joined 6/18 & has 5 comments

    Finally had a chance to try out this recipe and it was wonderful! So yummy and I can’t wait for my family to get home from work to try some too. Served with rice and homemade kimchi, of course!


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  17. LiljaS Iceland joined 3/18 & has 16 comments

    This was very fun to make. I never realized before I dove into Korean cooking that making your own noodles would be this easy. Very yummy


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  18. Curriedcabbage Indianapolis IN joined 2/19 & has 2 comments

    Holy cats. I have been sick for a week, and I got enough energy today to make this soup. I’m patting myself on the back so hard over the noodles, which came out a bit wide but SO good! All that garlic has me feeling almost normal.


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  19. Foodfanselenge Mongolia joined 9/18 & has 1 comment

    Hello Maangchi! Can is ” Myolchi dashima gugmul” for fish sauce? This is the only sauce I can find so far. Will taste same?
    Thank you :)

  20. misia Chicago, IL USA joined 8/18 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I love watching your videos and I hope to make this soup soon! If I don’t use all of the noodles after cutting them, can I freeze some to use for later? Thanks!!

  21. Hafizah Malaysia joined 10/16 & has 5 comments

    Hello maangchi how long can I keep the noddles?

  22. JinnyChinChin Munich joined 3/17 & has 1 comment

    I tried it today and it was soooo delicious!

    I just had one problem: I wasn’t able to roll out the dough, it was like a huge chewing gum without sticking to the board. I had to hold it up to the air, so that it stretches itself out due to its weight. After that I could roll it out. Unfortunately by layering and cutting it the noodles just stick together T-T

    Did I use too much oil or water?

    Thank u in advance for answering!

  23. philmawson london joined 3/17 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi, We made this today, followed your recipe to a tee and it was delicious! Thank you! We are big fans! x


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  24. Lynnah The Netherlands joined 2/17 & has 1 comment

    It didn’t quite turn out right, but still tasted well. It tasted quite bland, not the clear taste I had expected. Had to perform some ’emergency surgery’, and I think it turned out quite well, haha! Personally I was getting stomachaches from stress, but the rest of the company enjoyed it a lot, and that’s what matters ^^.

    I ended up adding gochujang, regular soy sauce (due to the lack of soup soy sauce), chili sauce and flakes.. Hence the dark colour (oops). And two chicken broth cubes. They really added a lot of flavor, next time I’m making this dish I’ll be adding those waaay earlier :).


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  25. Noelle2412 California joined 12/16 & has 2 comments

    I just made the noodle soup today but I adjusted the recipe. I used 1 cup of potato starch and 3 cups of all purpose flour to make the noodles more chewy and it worked ^_^


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  26. amoore Pasadena, CA joined 8/16 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi!
    Just wanted to say that I am a huge fan and I love your recipes! Made this one tonight and it turned out perfectly – so delicious! Thank you!!


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  27. the.machinist India joined 5/16 & has 1 comment

    Maangachi,
    I am a student thus busy with academics & business. This soup is a complete food with all the possible nutrients. I have been cooking it fresh every day since the day i watched your youtube video. It’s so easy to cook and doesn’t require much attention!(i do not make the noodles but compensate with some cabbage/ cauliflower) Also the chilli + sesame trick to spice it up is genius.
    Let me know If i can help you with the blog(technical stuff). Would like to return the favour.

    Thank you,
    Best Regards.

  28. Fany joined 12/15 & has 20 comments

    Hi Maangchi!
    I really want to do this chicken noodle soup, but i don’t really like fish sauce, and I can’t find soup soy sauce. Can I use regular soy sauce?

  29. My Korean husband adores this recipe, but even better, we’re thrilled that this has become our daughter’s favorite food! Thank you, Maangchi! She’ll ask, “Dad, Papa (he’s Dad, I’m Papa :) ) can we have Korean chicken soup again” and if you saw that little face you’d be just as helpless to resist ;) She hasn’t contracted a single cold from her kindergarten classmates yet, but the whole kindergarten has decided our house is the place to be for delicious snacktime playdates – especially other Korean families, where we trade tips! (Dad and Papa are learning from Maangchi!)
    My in-laws love your recipes as well – they keep teasing the husband that he’s lucky he found such a natural cook – when, shh, I learnt all I know through Maangchi :)

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 12,045 comments

      What a great story to close out the year!
      I feel I hear your daughter’s voice! When she asks for chicken soup, you wouldn’t be able to resist.
      “She hasn’t contracted a single cold from her kindergarten classmates yet,..” It sounds like she has been nourished by good food, so she can fight back any small germs! Tell her I said, “Bravo!” : )

  30. Hi Maangchi, I do not have chicken in my fridge, can I use pork belly or any pork?

  31. Hi, fantastic recipe.

    I made one batch per instructions and it was delicious. The second batch I made I had a few extra other things on hand and decided to use them. I substituted the zucchini with broccoli/carrot/cabbage slaw (also stir fried briefly). I also added a few large pieces of thinly sliced ginger. When making the garlic paste I also added the ginger and a few pieces of onion (each also finely minced then also made into a paste). The last touch was to steep enoki mushrooms into the chicken broth for about 30 seconds. Finally, I plated the dish noodles > broccoli slaw > chicken mixture > enoki mushrooms > broth > green onion > sprinkle of black sesame seeds for fun texture and color. A fun improvisation and mighty tasty, too.

    Thanks again, I love your food.


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