Monday, March 27, 2017

Korean Noodle Soup | Janchi Guksu (잔치국수)

As the chilly weather finally leaves us, we're no longer eating as many cozy comfort foods for dinner. So every year, March is a month full of soups and stews because I want to get my fill before it's no longer appropriate.

This noodle soup is a simple dish my mom used to throw together when we didn't have much in the house because it's made with mostly pantry ingredients. So, on a Thursday evening when we didn't have much left in the fridge, I took inspiration from Mum and threw this together. The irony (to me, at least) is that this is called 'janchi guksu' which translates to 'banquet noodles.' I don't really think these are worthy of a banquet, but apparently Koreans think this is wedding food.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
8 cups water
¼ cup dried anchovies
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ onion, sliced
½ small daikon radish, sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
1 long hot pepper, sliced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 eggs
3 cups baby spinach
4 bundles wheat noodles (somyun)

Start by wrapping up the anchovies in a bit of cheesecloth and tie it up with string. Pop the bundle into a pot of water and get it going over high heat so it can come to a boil.
While you're waiting for the water to boil, chop up all of the vegetables and aromatics.
Once the broth is boiling, add in the onions, garlic, radish, zucchini, soy sauce, and sesame oil.
Reduce the heat and allow the soup to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.
In a separate pot, boil some water and cook the noodles until tender. The noodles are incredibly starchy so they have to be cooked separately, otherwise it thickens the soup too much and makes it go gummy.
Just before you're ready to serve, crack in a few eggs to poach and then add in the noodles.
And the v. final touch is to wilt in some spinach.
Ladle generous servings of soup for each person, making sure to get an egg in each bowl and then top it off with some sliced scallions.
This soup is warming and comforting and delicious, despite its simplicity. The anchovy broth is subtle but flavorful, the vegetables make it lovely and hearty, the egg offers a bit of protein so that the dish is satiating, and of course the tender noodles are the star. It's just one of the best meals for a chilly evening. And though March is going out like a lamb (thank goodness), the slight chill in the evenings is still there which makes for the perfect excuse for making this soup.
Here's the recipe page:

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