Kal-Gook(Guk)-Soo (Korean soup with handmade noodles)

It’s been a very long time since I’ve cooked Kal-Guk-Soo, in fact, it could be close to 10 years!!  Kal-Guk-Soo has a hearty chicken soup base with handmade noodles, and topped with chicken,  sautéed Korean squash, onions, and potatoes.  You can also make seafood version, but we’ll stick to the chicken version today.  It’s eaten by adding spicy sauce which brings great flavor to the soup, and yes, don’t forget to slurp as you eat the noodles!!. 

I made this soup because of a special request from my friend.  She said whenever she watches K-drama (Korean drama), she sees people constantly eating Kal-Guk-Soo, and wouldn’t it be nice if she can make the soup herself too!!  Yes, by the way, she’s Taiwanese hooked on K-drama, nothing wrong with that, no, really.   Well, here we go, my friend, I hope I was able to capture the step by step instructions so you can replicate this. 


Soup:  yields about 8 servings (start the day before ) – you can always cut this recipe into half.

10 quart pot
2 Cornish hens OR  3-4 pound whole chicken OR 6 chicken legs
8-10 cloves of garlic
2 (2 inches each) ginger pieces, peeled
1 large onion, peeled
2 large white parts of green onions OR 4-6 white parts of regular green onions

Clean and rinse the chicken, place inside the pot along with all the vegetables.  Fill the pot with about 7 quarts of water and bring to boil.  Skim off any scums;  lower the heat and simmer with the lid partially on for 2 hours. 
After the pot cools down, keep the pot inside the refrigerator (or coldest part of the house during the Winter). 
Skim off any fat from the soup the next day.  Bring the soup back to boil and simmer.  Take the chicken and vegetables out.  Take the meat off the chicken and keep in the refrigerator until dinnertime.   You can turn the heat off the soup until dinner. 

Vegetable Toppings: yields about 4 servings

1 large Korean squash OR  2-3 small Korean squashes
1 large onion
2 medium sized potatoes

(Just in case you don’t know what Korean squashes are, the look like this.  I haven’t seen these in regular American markets.  If you have a Korean market nearby you can definitely buy these.  The meat is firmer so it can withstand sautéing without breaking apart).

All the vegetables should be cut the same length and size;  for this, I used sliced onion as my guide. 
After you slice the squash(es), sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt, mix and let it stand for about 10 minutes.  Rinse well and squeeze out excess liquid from the squash(es).

In a hot pan, add enough oil and sauté the onions and potatoes.  Cook until onions and potatoes are golden brown well cooked.  Transfer to a bowl, and add a little more oil and sauté the squash;  cook until slightly wilted and cooked through.

4 Tablespoons soy sauce
1-1/2 Tablespoons red pepper powder
1-1/2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1-1/2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 green onion, finely chopped
** Please use Japanese or Korean soy sauce and sesame oil!!  I’m not being picky, it really does boil down to getting the taste as accurate as possible!

Mix all ingredients, other than the green onions together; mix well, then add chopped green onions. 

Handmade Noodles: yields about 4 servings

3 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons oil
1 cup cold water, plus few more tablespoons

Mix the flour, salt and oil.  Gradually add the cold water (1/4 cup at a time) and mix until the dough is slighting wet.  Keep on kneading until the dough becomes smooth and non-sticky.
Wrap in a plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes. 

Flour the counter surface and roll out the dough so that’s it’s about 1/4 inch thick.
(Just to give you some size comparison, I put a chopstick on the rolled out dough)

Sprinkle additional flour on the surface and roll the dough. Make sure to put enough flour so that the dough won’t stick as you roll it (but not too much!!). 

Slice into 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick noodles
(Toss some flour into the noodles so that they don’t stick)

Assembling:  Boil the soup again and let it simmer.  Add the noodles into the soup.  Mix the noodles around, bring the soup back to boiling (the noodles are done when the soup boils). 

Carefully place the noodles in individual bowls.  Add the soup and arrange the toppings.  Add the sauce (add little at a time to gauge the taste), mix together and eat!!


If you’re not up to making handmade noodles, you can buy packaged Kal-Guk-Soo noodles in any Korean markets.

My opinion:  Growing up Korean, this is another one of comfort food!!  Handmade noodles are so yummy;  unlike the store bought ones, these handmade noodles are doughy and have the right amount of chewiness.  My mom never had time to make handmade noodles, but instead, she made the dough and tore pieces from the dough and cooked in the soup (thus, making Korean style dumpling soup).   I am very full and content from eating this soup!!  Thank you, my friend, for requesting this!!


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