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.

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“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

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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 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 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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87 Comments:

  1. molmollaj Leicester joined 4/14 & has 1 comment

    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

  2. NatSuarez USA joined 10/13 & has 8 comments

    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

  3. Maryanne365 Sydney, Australia joined 3/14 & has 2 comments

    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! ^^

  4. cranberry Denmark joined 3/13 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi,

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

  5. Miss Kim78 socali joined 3/13 & has 40 comments

    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.

  6. jaylivg Houston joined 7/10 & has 107 comments

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

  7. Souavarat Houston, Texas joined 9/10 & has 45 comments

    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!

  8. Vinthundar Horseyville joined 4/14 & has 5 comments

    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!

  9. Zulumom Concord, CA joined 9/13 & has 35 comments

    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

  10. jhm Massachusetts joined 3/14 & has 2 comments

    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.

  11. ina78 Jerteh, Terengganu, Malaysia joined 4/09 & has 45 comments

    What kind of starch can I use?

  12. xelloss1989 United States joined 1/13 & has 15 comments

    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!

  13. Spunkyminky Los Angeles joined 3/14 & has 1 comment

    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!

  14. angelamckq Syracuse, NY joined 3/14 & has 1 comment

    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!

  15. stonefly Olympia WA joined 11/11 & has 60 comments

    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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