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.
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 (ë¶€ì¶”; bu chu). Mix to combine. The consistency should be loose but hold its shape in a spoon (See 'picture - sujebi drop' above).
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 (ê³ ì¶”ê°€ë£¨; go chu ga ru) and 1 ts of toasted sesame seeds.
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.
Shinshine (Editor, New York Bureau Chief) cooks French food in a restaurant kitchen full-time and Korean food in her tiny home kitchen on weekends. Her food adventure reflects her childhood from Korea, her daily life in Manhattahn, and her enthusiasm for endless possibilities of Korean food, which she shares with the readers of ZenKimchi Food Journal as well as her own blog www.shinshine.com. With her understanding of Korean and American cultures, culinary trends and languages, she has also written about Korean food scenes in New York and food trends of Manhattan for Korean publications, and translated for the Korean food dictionary project.