Korean Cooking: Janchiguksu (잔치국수)
I recently had the chance to meet up with fellow blogger Brent Sheffield of Kimchibytes and I took him to one of my favorite places, Gwangjang Market. I was stunned to find out that after having lived here for four years he still hadn’t tried many of the dishes that I know and love. However, after some thought I also realized that many of the foods that I love aren’t common going out and eating dishes but they are good ‘ole Korean made-with-love-from-your-mother-at-home dishes. I haven’t been doing much Korean cooking as while I was pregnant most of my cravings were for western foods and then my husband was doing much of the cooking when I came home. This week, though, I thought I’d jump back in and make this soup that Brent didn’t know anything about.
Janchiguksu 잔치국수 is a common meal in Korean homes while also common at wedding buffets and other major events.
It’s a warm and light soup that fills you up without weighing you down. It is one of my all time favorites that I could eat anytime. It’s a pretty straightforward noodle soup with fish broth and some vegetables to top it off. It’s a good basic Korean soup to learn and from there, you can shoot for the more difficult stews.
I will give the most basic version of this soup but will also mention where you can add some more ingredients if you want to go all out.
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1. Place a handful of dried anchovies into a strainer and drop the strainer into a pot of boiling water to begin the broth. If you don’t have a strainer, just drop the anchovies in the water and at the end you’ll have to scoop out the anchovies. Add a dash of salt. After it comes to a boil, lower the heat and let it simmer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. (Optional ingredients for the broth: radish)
2. While the broth is simmering. Begin to prepare the garnish: Whisk an egg in a bowl and then put it into a pan. Though you may want to scramble the egg, don’t. Just let the egg become firm and then carefully flip it over. Once it’s done, remove the egg and place on a cutting board to cool.
3. While the egg is cooling, slice the yellow radish, kimchi and seaweed into strips and then finally slice the egg into thing strips. (Optional ingredients include: zucchini, carrots, cucumbers, fish cake. The toppings are sort of like pizza toppings. You can add almost anything.)
4. To make the noodles you will have to pay close attention as these are not just your normal pasta noodles. First, boil a pot of water and add a quarter size handful of noodles per person to the pot. According to my husband, you should just cook as many noodles as you want to eat so he doesn’t think there’s a serving size. Immediately stir the noodles around once they’ve been added to the boiling water. When the water begins to boil once again, add one cup of cold water to the pot. When it comes to a boil for the third time, test the noodles. If they’re done, remove them from the pot. If they’re not done, once again add a cup of cold water and let it come to a boil again before removing the noodles. Place the noodles in a strainer and rinse with cold water.
5. For the sauce: mix the final four ingredients. The soup soy sauce and sesame oil are the basic components of the sauce. You can add as little or as much red pepper flakes keeping in mind that it will be less or more spicy. Same goes for the green pepper which can add quite a spicy kick. It’s up to you, if you want that or not.
6. In the serving bowl, add the noodles and the broth and keep the garnish available on a plate in the center of the table if you have guests so that they can add what they like or just top off the soup with everything you’ve sliced and diced and let your friends or family enjoy.
This is a great soup to invite friends over to enjoy together because everyone will be sure to like it. Adding whatever they want or just eating it plain. Anything goes.