Janchi Guksu 잔치 국수 (Korean Warm Noodles aka Feast Noodles)

We have been on a noodle diet of late and today was no exception. We had a healthy and light broth noodle soup called janchi guksu, literally translated “feast/banquet noodles” in Korean. The thin noodles (called somyeon) are made of wheat flour served in a broth that is made by boiling dried anchovies and other vegetables. This is a very common noodle dish served on festive days like wedding banquets and national holidays. The noodles themselves have significance in Korean culture, symbolizing a long and prosperous future for newly married couples and health and longevity for elderly people. Although noodles are very popular and extremely cheap these days, back in the old days wheat flour was very scarce and expensive, thus being reserved for special occasions. The typical ingredients include thin strips of beef, egg, carrot, zucchini, and shredded laver. We omitted the beef for a complete vegetarian meal but I’m sure beef would have made it that much tastier for us meat-lovers.

 

Here are the ingredients for this quick and healthy noodle recipe.
This anchovy based broth is really clean and light. Kelp and dried shrimp are also used but we sadly didn’t have them on hand.
Simply saute the julienned vegetables until tender and add a sprinkle of salt to taste.
Just cutting up some peeled zucchini and slicing them thin.
Make this jidan fried egg for the egg strips. Although most Koreans fry the yolk and whites separately (creating 2 toppings), we just fry them together.
Instead of removing and straining the broth, we just let the ingredients sit and ladle broth from the top.
Let the fried egg cool for a minute and then cut into strips like this.

Just cutting up some extra ingredients like kimchi, to give it some extra kick and flavor.

Ladle the hot broth on the side of bowl to keep toppings in place.
Servings: 4 people

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Anchovy Broth Ingredients:
  • 2 cups dried myeolchi (anchovies)
  • 1 piece dashima (kelp)
  • 1/2 cup dried shrimp (optional)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp refined rice wine
  • 1 yellow onion, halved
  • 1 leek, halved (or 3 green onions)
  • 9 cups water
Toppings:
  • 12~14 oz. guksu, (thin wheat noodles)
  • 1/2 zucchini, peeled & julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 2 eggs beaten (jidan), frying the yolks and white separately optional
  • 1, 2 sheets toasted gim (laver)
  • 1/2 cup kimchi, thinly sliced
  • beef, cut into thin strips (optional)
Directions:

1. Add all broth ingredients to a large pot and bring to a continuous running boil, 15 minutes.  Reduce to low heat and keep warm until toppings and noodles are prepared. When noodles are just about complete, remove from heat to let broth ingredients settle to the bottom. Ladle

2. After peeling the vegetables, slice them into thin matchstick pieces about 2 inches in length  Sauté in olive oil on a non-stick frying pan or skillet over medium high heat, 3 minutes or until tender. If using beef, cook in the same manner while adjusting salt to taste preference.

3. Cook thin noodles somyeon according to package directions but please note the following tips: cooking noodles last will help prevent the noodles from becoming soggy and soft. Also, make sure to run the noodles in cold water to stop further cooking and drain in a colander.

4. Place the noodles in a serving bowl, topping with prepared ingredients and adjusting the toppings according to taste preference. Pour the hot broth on the side of the bowl to keep toppings in place. Slurping is recommended (in the privacy of your home) for optimal dining experience. Enjoy!

*There were a couple steps that we tweaked to save time and energy. First, the traditionalists would separate the egg yolks and the whites and fry them separately; thus creating 2 different egg toppings. Second, most would probably strain the broth in a chinoise after removing the ingredients, but we didn’t see any floating debris or fish heads that would lead us to think that any harm could come from it (and it didn’t). Lastly, adding salted or marinated beef (which is the norm) would have made it even more flavorful (as does anything with meat). We wanted to something healthier and lighter, and we definitely got it with this noodle dish.
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