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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83 Comments:

  1. waterlily joined 6/15 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! I love your videos, thanks to you I have serious addiction to homemade Korean food haha.

    I am at home with the flu right now and really want to make this. I’m just wondering, could you add ginger to the broth or would it ruin the flavour?

  2. Kasheen joined 6/15 & has 3 comments

    Hi, Maangchi! Greetings from the Midwestern U.S. I LOVE your videos. I have your cookbook, too. My question is on the noodles in this recipe: Are they considered the same as/similar to fresh ramen? I’ve never had fresh ramen, but these look like they’d be close, considering the potato starch (which I’ve heard is used in ramen dough). But would it be ok to use baking soda in place of salt, to try to more closely mimic fresh ramen? Or should I stick with salt? Or should I use both? If I’ve missed something somewhere on this, my apologies. I look forward to making this version of my favorite soup. Thanks in advance for your help!

  3. mikaying joined 5/15 & has 1 comment

    Hi Maangchi! I made this for mother’s day yesterday and she really liked it! Thank you for the wonderful recipe ^^ I forgot to wait for the water to boil before adding the noodles in so they clumped together a little bit but were still delectably chewy! The soup came out really thick though, kind of like porridge-thickness. Was this because of the starch in the noodles? I noticed the soup in your video wasn’t like this and wondering what I did wrong (not that it tasted bad)?

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,676 comments

      You made this for mother’s day! Wonderful! : ) Yes,the noodles should be cooked very quickly. Wait until the stock is boiling vigorously and add the noodles.

  4. chern joined 4/15 & has 2 comments

    Hi Maangchi
    I’m from Thailand. This first time I comment here. Thank you for your recipe. it’s wonderful. I always follow your clip. today have opportunity to make this menu let my friend tried. They like it very much But the noodle wasn’t make from me I buy from the supermarket. Anyway this menu very wonderful delicious perfect for us.


    See full size image

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 11,676 comments

      Nice meeting you! Thailand was my first backpacking country, so I always have some good memories about the country’s food, people, and beautiful scenery! The noodle soup looks great! Next time if you make it again, try to make the noodles from scratch. You will love it.

  5. tpdullum Northwest Washington State joined 8/12 & has 7 comments

    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.

  6. mrskimchi san francisco joined 6/13 & has 5 comments

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

  7. Emka Poland joined 7/14 & has 1 comment

    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 joined 8/08 & has 11,676 comments

      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!

  8. Vibey Melbourne, Australia joined 4/12 & has 11 comments

    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!

  9. jinaloveskimchichigae San Francisco, CA joined 7/14 & has 1 comment

    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 joined 4/12 & has 11 comments

      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.

  10. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13 & has 79 comments

    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.

  11. C-Rowles Boston, Massachusetts joined 5/14 & has 1 comment

    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!

  12. marimarin9 Boston, MA, USA joined 4/14 & has 1 comment

    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/[email protected]/13965077336/
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14008179023/in/photostream/

  13. CatnGeek Paris joined 4/14 & has 1 comment

    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.

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

    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.

  15. Cutemom Indonesia joined 3/13 & has 79 comments

    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 joined 8/08 & has 11,676 comments

      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!” : )

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