Sujebi is a traditional Korean noodle soup, and is well-loved and popular among Koreans. The noodles are made with homemade dough, and while noodles are usually cut with a knife, these noodles are unique in that each flat noodle is torn by hand!
The ingredients are very simple and it doesn’t cost much money to make, so it used to be regular food for some poor people who couldn’t afford rice. But Koreans still love this food and eat it all the time.
One day I read a magazine article about a famous Korean actress who passed away last year. She was asked by the reporter what dish she likes the most. Her answer was, “kimchi sujebi! When I was young, we were so poor that my mother always made kimchi sujebi. I got tired of it terribly at that time, but for some reason, I have craving for the kimchi sujebi. It’s my favorite food!”
Once I read it, I wanted to make kimchi sujebi. Whenever I eat my kimchi sujebi, I think about the actress! What she said in the magazine motivated me to like sujebi more than before.
My grandmother used to make sujebi in a huge iron pot. When she decided to make sujebi for lunch, she would start kneading the dough soon after breakfast. She put the dough into a basin, and brought it out of the kitchen. She sat down and was kneading and pressing, and talking to us at the same time. Koreans usually use a large bowl or basin to knead dough instead of a cutting board.
I stood next to her and helped her tear the dough and put it into the boiling soup, but couldn’t follow her speed.
She used to say, “Be careful, the soup is hot. Go out and play with friends!” My dough usually turned out too thick and when the soup was done, I could easily see who got my noodles.
Oh, so many good memories about my grandmother! I should have learned more from her, if only I had known I would be blogging about Korean traditional food someday. She passed away long time ago, and her life was dedicated to feeding her husband and children. She was a real expert on cooking Korean food.
Combine the flour, ¾ cup water, salt, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Knead by hand for 10-15 minutes until the dough gets softer and sticks together firmly.
Put the dough into a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator. *tip: Using a food processor is very convenient and saves time. If you use a food processor, use the dough blade and knead all the above ingredients for 1 minute until the dough sticks together and gets lumpy.
Let’s make stock:
Place 10 cups of water in a large pot. Add dried kelp and dried anchovies
Bring it to a boil for 20 minutes over medium high heat, then lower the heat to simmer for another 20 minutes.
Turn the heat off and take the anchovies and kelp out.
Add the potato, onion, and garlic to the pot and boil 10-15 minutes over medium high heat.
Cut the cooked kelp into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
Open the pot and add fish sauce, soup soy sauce (or salt), and the kelp strips.
Now it’s time to make noodles!
Put the dough in your left hand, and pull and stretch it with your right. Get it as thin as you can. Then tear it into bite sized pieces with your right. Drop it into the boiling soup. Repeat this until the dough runs out. *tip: If you make more than 4 servings’ worth, tearing the dough may take too long. So all family members should work together.
Close the lid and cook for a couple of minutes to let the noodles cook. The noodles will float on the surface when cooked properly.
Add the green onion and sesame oil
Transfer to a bowl and serve hot with kimchi.
Hot spicy kimchi sujebi: 1 serving
2 cups of all purpose flour ½ of salt 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil, 6 large dried anchovies with the heads and guts removed 1 medium potato, peeled, cut into bite sized pieces ¼ cup onion, sliced 1 stalk of green onion, chopped ¼ cup of kimchi, chopped 2 Tablespoons of kimchi juice 1 garlic clove, minced 2 Tablespoons of hot pepper paste 1 teaspoon of sesame oil water
Combine flour, ¾ cup of water, salt, and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Knead by hand for 10-15 minutes until the dough gets softer and sticks together firmly.
Put the dough into a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator. *tip: Using a food processor is very convenient and saves time. If you use a food processor, use the dough blade and knead all the above ingredients for 1-2 minutes until the doughforms a ball.
Let’s make stock:
In a shallow pot, place 3 ½ cups of water, the kimchi, kimchi juice, potato, onion, garlic, and dried anchovies.
Close the lid and bring to a boil for 10 minutes over medium high heat. Lower the heat and simmer another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, take out the dough from the refrigerator and knead a few more minutes until the dough gets smooth and silky.
Put the dough back into the plastic bag.
Open the lid of the boiling pot and take out the anchovies and add hot pepper paste. Stir it with a spoon.
Now it’s time to make noodles!
Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Put 1 piece of the dough into a plastic bag and keep it in the fridge for a future use.
Put the other dough in your left hand, and pull and stretch it with your right. Get it as thin as you can. Then tear it into bite sized pieces with your right. Drop it into the boiling soup. Repeat this until the dough runs out.
Close the lid and boil it for a few more minutes to cook the dough
Turn the heat off and add green onion and a few drops of sesame oil.
If you want to, you can add an egg when it’s still hot: