Food - Drink
What Makes Korea's Kalguksu Noodle Soup Unique
BY KATHERINE BECK
A popular type of soup in Korea is kalguksu, which is made with a variety of vegetables, broth, protein, and the important ingredient: noodles. Kalguksu means "knife noodles," referencing how the noodles for the soup are created by cutting the dough with a knife, and the soup itself has a rich history and many variations.
Food For The Elite
Kalguksu likely debuted between 918 AD and 1392 AD, when noodles were reserved for Koreo's wealthy, including the royal family. Though more wheat was imported to the country in the 1950s, making noodles more accessible, it wasn't until the 1980s that kalguksu became popular across South Korea's capital of Seoul.
Preparation
Unlike other noodles that are stretched by hand, kalguksu relies on the cook's knife skills to create long noodles. The dough is rolled out and then folded four to five times, then cut with a knife to create noodles, which are then unfolded, loosened, and sprinkled with flour to prevent sticking.
Variations
Chicken kalguksu (dak kalguksu) is one of the most popular varieties, but there are many regional takes, including bajirak kalguksu with littleneck clams and haemul kalguksu with seafood and shellfish. Some cooks also add dried bean powder or mashed mung beans to the noodle dough to make the noodles firmer.
Ingredients
The most common vegetables for kalguksu broth include onion, zucchini, carrot, and potato. MasterClass's recipe calls for anchovy or fish stock, garlic, soy sauce, carrot, courgette (a type of zucchini), and dried kalguksu noodles, with sliced green onions to garnish; gochujang can also be added to make the soup spicy.