There is something therapeutic about handling dough. Especially, smooth, supple dough. I love making bread and baking, but our oven recently broke. Ergo, I had to think of another way to get my hands into some flour and let out all my stress on a squishy dough-ball.
Kalguksu, literally meaning “knife noodles” is a dish that consists of handmade wheat flour noodles cut with a knife usually with a clear broth (most popular soup base are clams).
I’m actually not a big fan of clear soups; I much rather prefer a broth with a punch of spice and flavor. But I really enjoy the chewy elastic kalguksu noodles, and I happened to have leftover broth from a chicken stew I made the night before, so I decided to knead my own handmade noodles.
Compared to, say, Italian pasta, there’s much more kneading involved, but what I love about kalguksu is that all you need is a few ingredients, a bowl, a knife, and a flat surface and you’re all set. All you need to give the noodles is a little love and attention, and they will be perfect. The imperfect roughly cut noodles are perfect in their own little way.
So, to begin. Serves two.
You will need 150 grams of flour, a teaspoon of salt, and 100 grams of water. Simple, right? You also need one more important ingredient:
Put all of your dry ingredients into a bowl, sans the salt. Dissolve the salt into the water, make a well in the flour, and pour in the liquid.
(3)Start using your hands and pull together the dough. Liberally sprinkle a flat surface with flour and start kneading the dough. If it’s looking a little dry, add more water. If it’s a little too sticky, add in some more flour. If your dough comes together without a problem, then you’re set. Start kneading the little ball vigorously.
(5)Now after twenty to thirty minutes, your arms and hands will start to ache. But the dough is still not ready. It must be completely smooth and stretchy. Take all your stress, and squeeze and mold the dough ball. You’ll be surprised at how “at peace” you will feel after a kneading session.
(8)Now I made a mistake when I started rolling the dough out. It was really elastic and stretchy, so the rolling pin wasn’t helpful getting it rolled out thin. I would advise putting it in the fridge for five to ten minutes. The dough hardens and becomes easier to roll out, just like pastry dough.
Bleh my dough was too thick, but I rolled and cut it anyways. Get one end of the dough at the bottom, and fold it up until you get a long strip of folded dough. Make sure you flour the dough liberally before you roll it up, or else the noods will start sticking.
(13)I pre-boiled my noodles to give them a little head start before putting them in my chicken stew broth diluted with water and re-seasoned with soy sauce. Pre-boil the noodles for about five minutes. The stew has chicken, potatoes, carrots, and onions. The broth is seasoned with soy sauce, chili flakes, mirin, sochu, and a little fish sauce. Delicious on a cold day. Perfect to revamp with a little noodle action.
(14)The broth is nice and spicy, with root vegetables that have sucked up all the soup and are so savory. The noodles also thicken the soup a little, making it a little bowl of molten happiness on a cold day like today (-7 degrees celsius, probably colder because of the wind).
The noodles will last for a couple days in the fridge, so you can make a batch and store them in air-tight containers.
Well, I hope to catch up on more blog posts, since I haven’t really posted anything for the last six months. So heads up for a long overdue post on Hong Kong eats.
Until next time, good luck in the kitchen!