12.103 Dak Kal Guksu


18 (Sun) April 2021

Dak Kal Guksu


by me

at home

-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-

with W and IZ (and DJ)

Korean-Swedish Culinary Exchange (14) (see also KSCX)

This time, for the first time, I cooked Korean and GK cooked Swedish, each making the other’s dish from the prior exchange.



By definition – “kal (knife) guksu (noodles)” – kal guksu noodles are meant to be made from scratch: the dough is rolled thin and cut by knife into strips.

I’ve made the noodles from scratch a few times in my life, only once in GMTD history (see 3.095 Chicken & Zucchini Jjajang Myeon with Kal Guksu).

These days, so-called “kal guksu” noodles can be purchased in dry form (see for example 6.084 Yuk-Kal) or “fresh” (see for example 7.154 Yuk-Kal), though neither offers the characteristic unevenness of hand-cut noodles.

GK had made his noodles from scratch, inspiring me to follow suit.

According to the package of flour: 500 g of flour + 240 g of water + 2 TB of vegetable oil + 1 tsp of salt.
Came out just right.

I had prepared the dough last night, wrapping it in plastic and letting it rest in the fridge.  Although some recipes allow for the dough to be used right away, or at least following a short rest, I’ve found that a longer rest makes it easier to roll out.

Half of the dough on a well-dusted board.
Rolled out as thin as possible, a few millimeters thick (just wondering, would “maximum thinness” be an oxymoron?) (another thought, “minimum thickness” doesn’t make much sense).
More flour to prevent sticking between layers, then folded over until the sheet is all rolled up.
Here’s where the kal comes in: cut into strips, each about a half-centimeter in width.
The strips are gently separated into individual noodles.
Optionally, the noodles can be stretched to make them longer and thinner, though the dough needs to be sufficiently elastic.

Kal guksu can be served in a variety of broths.  The most basic is dried anchovy (myeolchi), which are boiled in water then discarded (see for example 12.013 Kal Guksu).  One step up is clams, typically Manila clams (bajirak) (see for example 2.203 Bajirak Kal Guksu).  Another is chicken (dak) (see for example 1.149 Dak Kal Guksu).  Other variations may include kimchi, dumplings, etc.

I prefer clams but often make it with chicken, which goes farther to feed the family.

To yesterday’s 1.5 liters of stock concentrate (see 12.102 Break Fast Chicken), I added another 1.5 liters of water; the concentrate as is would be ideal, but (a) the large amount of noodles that I was cooking required more volume of broth, and (b) it was too salty from the salt that I had added to season the chicken.

Whereas most recipes call for the noodles to be initially boiled separately then added later to the broth, I decided to boil the noodles directly in the broth so that the flour would act as a thickening agent; however, perhaps because I had used so much loose flour in rolling the noodles, and failed to shake off the excess, the broth ended up with an unpleasant floury aftertaste.

At the last minute, I added a couple dollops of my go-to spicy marinade/sauce/condiment, which not only masked the floury taste but added a welcome bit of heat.

Chicken breasts, shredded, already seasoned from boiling in salt water yesterday; some recipes call for seasoning the chicken further, typically with small amounts of garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil.
As noted in yesterday’s post, I love this middle section of the daepa for garnishing soups.

It turned out okay.  The broth was rich in chicken flavor, comfortingly goopy, with a nice kick of spice.  The noodles were pleasingly uneven in texture, though a bit too soft for my liking – not overcooked, just naturally so.  The chicken provided substance, enhanced by the sharpness of the fresh scallions.  Everyone was quite happy with it.

I wonder, though, if I’ll ever make it again.  Not convinced that it was worth the effort.



[NOTE: all comments in this section are in GK’s own words.]

For the meats, in going with the spirit of the dish (use what you have), I used pork tenderloin and entrecote (ribeye) that I had had in the freezer for a long time.  (In hindsight maybe I should have bought some cheap sausage or something in order to use the ribeye for something more “fancy.”)  I also added some already minced onion that I also had in the freezer, as well as “newly” minced onion.

I also added fried eggs.  One of them looks kinda messy in the picture, but it tasted good, as well as pickled beets and HP-sauce.

I also fried some factory made pytt i panna in order to compare the two.  I guess it will be easy to see which part of the plate has the home made ones and which has the factory made ones.  Come to think of it, I doubt Swedish farmers in the days of yore cut their potatoes, meat and onions in really small and perfect cubes.

So how did it go?  I think adding previously frozen onion was a mistake, since the texture of it was kinda off.  I think it also made it harder to get “searing”/”a surface” on the other ingredients.  In hindsight, I could also have fried the different ingredients separately and then mixed them to get an even browning.  I also think I boiled the potatoes a little too long, making them too soft/watery, which also might have made it harder to get them nicely fried.

All in all a good try!  I might try it again with some different ingredients and ways of preparing it.

P.S. The pickled beets came in a jar with a lid, thus not necessitating a can opener. 😉



While the objective of KSCX is to challenge each other (i.e., by learning to cook dishes from each other’s countries), I believe that this exchange retained the spirit of the collaboration (i.e., by relearning to cook our native dishes that otherwise we might not have attempted under normal circumstances).

On my end, I was happy to confirm that I am ready and able to make kal guksu, should the opportunity ever arise again, even if it’s not really my thing.

Looking at GK’s dish, I was happy to confirm that my own pytt i panna seemed to come pretty close, at least in appearance, to the real deal.  I’d appreciate some details on what seasonings were used.  And what is HP sauce?

It’s funny that I am slowly becoming an expert in Swedish cuisine, though the only Swedish dishes that I have tasted have been by myself, except maybe that one time at IKEA (see 11.169 Swedish Meatballs) – does that count?

On that note, I just searched for “swedish restaurant seoul” and discovered this: https://hemlagatseoul.com/.  I will visit as soon as I can.  I am so excited!!  In the meantime, I would appreciate advice from GK on which dishes from the menu are traditional dishes that I should try.

Incidentally, my family has agreed to make Sweden our first post-pandemic family vacation destination.  If pytt i panna isn’t served in restaurants, GK will have to cook it for us in his home.

(See also FOODS)

(See also PLACES)

5 thoughts on “12.103 Dak Kal Guksu

  1. I have to say I really like the looks of your dish, both the ingredients in themselves as well as the plating (where did you get that plate?).

    Some notes:

    1) I forgot to say anything about the seasonings, probably because Swedish traditional dishes are very plain when it comes to it, normally just pepper and salt, which was also the case with this pytt i panna.
    2) HP sauce is a brown sauce that’s really popular in the UK. Quoting wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HP_Sauce):

    “HP Sauce is a brown sauce,[1] originally produced in the United Kingdom and now produced by the H. J. Heinz Company in the Netherlands. It was named after London’s Houses of Parliament. After making its first appearance on British dinner tables in the late 19th century, HP Sauce went on to become an icon of British culture.[2] It was the best-selling brand of brown sauce in the UK in 2005, with 73.8% of the retail market.[3]”

    3) Of course IKEA-food counts!

    4) I’m glad there’s a restaurant serving Swedish food in Seoul. Looking at the review on Google Maps it seems pretty good too! Looking at the meny:
    * Of course köttbullar is tradtional, but I would guess you want to try something else…
    * Vildsvinsgryta (boar stew) is also traditional, but would be eaten more often is you are a hunter yourself, or have access to game meat. Do you have wild boars in Korea? Do people eat wild boars in the US?
    * Stekt Lax med Dillstuvad Potatis is also traditional, although it might be a little boring for you to order salmon, since it’s readily available in Korea anyway…
    * Älgskav (marinated elk/moose meat) is also traditional, once again eaten more often if you have ready access to it. Maybe it would be interesting for you to try moose if you have never done it before?
    (I would finally guess you should skip on the pickled herring (sill) platter, considering you found the sill I sent you before to be too “fishy”).

    5. I’m glad I have encouraged more visitors to the cold North! And I’m looking forward to showing you around.

    1. 2. Oh man, now I need to get HP Sauce. I have a feeling it’ll taste like tonkatsu sauce.

      3. I just remembered another Swedish experience at this dive bar in Manila (https://givemethisday.com/2015/12/05/6-334-swedish-meatballs/), which I believe is/was owned by a Swede. he also had a smorgasbord restaurant that I wanted to try, but too many prostitutes (different kind of smorgas).

      4. i’m going tonight!! i’ve invited 2 friends to join me, so hopefully we can try as many dishes as possible. köttbullar of course. elk definitely. if we have room, then boar. herring for appetizer (i do like anchovies, so i’m going to give herring another chance).

      i’ve seen signs for boar, maybe in the countryside, but not in supermarkets. tiger in speciality restaurants. no elk. i think pheasant used to be a thing.

      5. i want to go to a restaurant where there’s a whole elk roasting on a spit over a huge fire, and people can carve off large chunks of meat. that’s how i imagine traditional swedish restaurants.

      1. 3. Wait, the prostitutes were hanging around in the restaurant and tried to get new “customers”?

        4. I can’t wait to know how it was!
        And really, you can get tiger in Korea? Are you pulling my leg again?

        5. Considering how a male elk weighs between 400 to 700 kg, I think a whole roasted elk on a spit would be kinda hard to pull of logistically…

        Btw can you get whole pig on a spit at restaurants in Korea? I have never seen it in restaurants here, but I think you can order it and get it to your home if you’re having a party or something…

  2. 3. on second thought, I think it was more of a bar. and yes, girls looking for new customers. in fact, it’s called G Point. https://www.zomato.com/manila/g-point-smorgasbord-bar-ermita-manila. the menu offers pytt i panna, and something called Janssons Temptation, which sounds a lot like that Janssons Medley that I made, so that must be an actual thing.

    4. teaser report: we went and had a really great time, though the food was not as great as I had hoped; but I’ll definitely go back for more.

    i don’t know if anyone can get tiger anywhere, my dear friend.

    5. you guys invented IKEA. i’m sure roasting an elk would be easy.

    speaking of elk, OMG, the restaurant last night gets the elk locally! more on that in the post.

    i’ve never heard of whole pig in korea. but if i could get my hands on one, i might try doing it at our cabin.

    1. 3. Yes, Jansson’s Tempation is the more “legit” dish. We talked about it before and/or after you made the “Jansson’s Medley”.

      4. I’m at least glad you enjoyed it!

      5. Wow, that sounds really interesting. I was wondering if they shipped frozen elk meat all the way from Sweden…

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