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Potato Sujebi, Korean Gnocchi Soup

Sujebi is one of the most popular, simple dishes all year round in Korea, especially on rainy days and cold days.  I consider it a cousin of kalguksu (칼국수; knife-cut noodles), but its quick dough of white flour and water is torn with hands and dropped right into boiling broth.  Basic sujebi broth is made with dried anchovies and dried kelp, which are also basic pantry items in Korea.  Add sliced onion, potato and aehobak (애호박; similar to zucchini, but lighter in color and sweeter in taste), and you have a simple bowl of sujebi.  From this basic bowl of sujebi to popular variations of kimchi sujebi and haemul (해물; seafood) sujebi, you can easily create your own sujebi by playing with dough (chewy or soft?  Plumpy thick or wide-noodle thin?), ingredients or broth.

This potato (감자; gam ja) sujebi comes from my sister whose version has become the standard sujebi for us.  Potato sujebi usually calls for a small amount of grated potato, which extends the chewy-starchy texture, folded into the flour dough.  Sometimes you will even see gamja sujebi that has just lots of potato slices in the soup with your regular flour sujebi.  My sister’s potato sujebi is mostly grated potato with just enough flour to keep it together.  It’s a nice compromise between sujebi and gamja (감자) ong sim i (옹심이), soup with potato balls made only with potato starch which is a regional specialty of Gangwon Province, famous for its potatoes in addition to beautiful beaches and mountains.

If you consider the usual sujebi on the chewy-elastic side in the whole texture spectrum, this potato sujebi recipe will show you a softer side of sujebi, maybe even remind you of Italian gnocchi.  Garlic chive specks in sujebi is optional, but good for brightening up the dish from its mostly white-beige background.  The natural starch from potato will thicken the soup just about right, and makes it a bit heartier without any meat in the soup.  It’s still simple and easy to make with the same rustic warmth in a bowl.

Potato Sujebi, Korean Gnocchi SoupPotato Sujebi, Korean Gnocchi SoupPotato Sujebi, Korean Gnocchi SoupPotato Sujebi, Korean Gnocchi SoupPotato Sujebi, Korean Gnocchi Soup

 

Potato Sujebi, Korean Gnocchi Soup

Yield: 2 appetizer portions

Potato Sujebi, Korean Gnocchi Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Water
  • 1 piece Kelp (Dasima, or Kombu)
  • 4 dried Anchovies
  • 1 cup Onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small Zucchini Squash (Aehobak), sliced
  • 1 large Potato, peeled and grated
  • 1/3 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Chives, finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 tsp Scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds, toasted

Instructions

  1. Broth) Boil 4 C of water, 1 piece of kelp (다시마; da si ma) about the size of two fingers and 4 dried anchovies (멸치; myeol chi)* if available. Feel free to substitute with ready-made stock of your choice if you don't have dried kelp or anchovies. Once it comes up to a boil, add 1 C of peeled, sliced onion (about 1 small onion), 1 small sized aehobak or 3/4 C of sliced aehobak (애호박; similar to zucchini, but lighter in color and sweeter in taste). Bring it to a boil. Remove and discard kelp and anchovies.
  2. Sujebi) Peel and grate 1 large potato to get about 1 cup. Add 1/3 C of all-purpose flour, 1/2 ts salt and a pinch of ground black pepper. Optionally, add 1 TBSP of finely chopped garlic chives (부추; bu chu). Mix to combine. The consistency should be loose but hold its shape in a spoon (See 'picture - sujebi drop' above).
  3. Sauce) Mix together 2 TBSP of soy sauce, 1 TBSP sesame oil, 2 ts of finely chopped scallion (about 1 stem of scallion), 1 ts of red chili flakes (고추가루; go chu ga ru) and 1 ts of toasted sesame seeds.
  4. To put it together, reduce heat so that broth is gently simmering. Start dropping a teaspoonful of sujebi mix in the broth. The mix will easily slide off from the spoon but if it doesn't, gently tap the spoon on the bottom of the pot. After quickly adding teaspoonfuls of the sujebi mix in the broth, turn the heat up to bring the soup to a boil. Cooked sujebi that float to the top will be translucent. Serve with the sauce.

Notes

* Dried anchovies (멸치; myeol chi) that are about 2 inches are commonly used to flavor broth for soups and stews whereas tiny ones are toasted and mixed in soy sauce and honey for banchan (반찬; side dish).

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KOREAN WORDS

potato            감자     (gam ja)

sweet potato  고구마  (go gu ma)

Potato Sujebi, Korean Gnocchi Soup

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