Dak Gomtang AKA Korean Chicken Soup

Banish the sniffles, cure all ailments, and drive away the stay-at-home-Quarantine blues with a big pot of Dak Gomtang. A satisfying bowl of Korean Chicken Soup comfort.

There’s just something about chicken soup. Nourishing. Comforting. Homey. Like a fluffy blanket wrapped around you, chicken soup makes you feel warm and protected.

I grew up eating this Korean Chicken Soup, made by my Halmoni. She simmered the chicken bones until the broth turned milky white. She also seasoned the chicken two ways, to satisfy the different taste buds in the family. I remember soaking big spoonfuls of rice into the broth and savoring each and every bite.

If there’s anything we need right now, it’s this big bowl of comfort. And Dak Gomtang satisfies, in the most pleasurable way. Slurpy noodles. Rich, milky broth. Tender bites of chicken.

What makes Korean Chicken Soup different?

Dak Gomtang is made from long-simmered bones and aromatics. Traditionally, Gomtang refers to beef bone soup. Khori Gomtang, made from meaty oxtails, is a classic example. Dak Gomtang is the chicken version. (Dak = chicken, Gomtang = bone soup.)

The end result? A milky, rich, deeply flavored broth. Vitamins and minerals, leached out from the bones, imbues a whitish, pearly sheen. The soup is light and clean-tasting.

Dak Gomtang also has a distinctly Korean flavor profile: green onions, mineral salt, ginger, garlic, and sweet potato noodles. There’s nothing quite like the taste of Korean Chicken Soup.

bowl of korean chicken soup (dak gomtang) in grey bowl with kimchi on the side

Do I really need a whole chicken?

A whole chicken works best. All that bone, skin, cartilage, and tendon add so much depth and body to the stock! A whole chicken also gives a variety of dark and light meat, which is my ideal for chicken soup.

That being said, if you’re in a rush or can’t find a whole chicken, feel free to substitute with a combination of skin-on, bone-in thighs, drumsticks, wings, and/or breast meat.

However, a note of caution: DO NOT use boneless, skinless chicken alone!! This soup will NOT taste the same without chicken skin and bone!!

What is Dang Myeon? Can I substitute with another kind of noodle?

Dang Myeon is Korean sweet potato noodle. Dang Myeon is famously used in Jap Chae. But Koreans also use them in soup, mandu (dumplings), egg rolls, and soondae. They’re well loved for their bouncy, chewy texture.

As for substitutions, Mak Guksu or So Myeon can also work in this soup. They are thin, Korean wheat noodles. Or, eat without noodles altogether, if that’s your preference.

But I strongly recommend Dang Myeon for this soup! They add a slurpy, texturally addictive element. Pleasantly chewy and satisfying to eat, these noodles are a staple in my pantry and should be in yours, too!

noodles on chopsticks

How do you serve Dak Gomtang AKA Korean Chicken Soup?

My recipe also calls for seasoning the chicken two ways. I think it’s nice to have choice. Some people prefer the classic, mild seasoning of this soup. Others are inclined to a spicy, heartily seasoned chicken. My Halmoni always served it two ways so that’s the way I like to serve it, too.

I also serve Dak Gomtang with bowls of chopped green onions and mineral salt. Green onions and mineral salt are essential elements to this homey, comforting soup. People add as much as they like, according to their preference, at the table. That’s part of the charm.

Also, rice and kimchi are ALWAYS served with this soup.

For the rice, carbs are essential to the comfort factor. That’s why I serve Dak Gomtang with BOTH noodles and rice. Rice is served in individual bowls, alongside the soup. Koreans typically scoop big spoonfuls of rice into the soup, swirl around, and eat the double carbs together. Life really can’t get better than double carbs.

For the kimchi, that acidic, spicy tang of fermented goodness is the perfect compliment to the mild, milky-based broth of this dish. You really need it!

How To Make Dak Gomtang:

Add chicken, carrot, onion, garlic, ginger and water to a stock pot. Bring to a boil and skim off the scum. Then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

Remove chicken to a separate platter. When cool enough to handle, shred meat and discard most of the skin. Return the chicken bones back into the stock pot. Simmer bones and vegetables for 30 more minutes. Discard the bones and vegetable chunks and add 1 tsp of mineral salt to lightly season.

While the soup simmers away, season the shredded chicken. I like to divide the chicken between two bowls. One bowl will be seasoned simply with salt and pepper. The other will be seasoned more assertively: gochukaru, soy sauce, garlic, green onion, sesame seeds, and sesame oil.

Soak dangmyeon in cold water. Add drained noodles to the hot broth. Cook for a few minutes until soft and pliant, about 3-4 minutes.

Serve soup with green onions, mineral salt, and the two bowls of seasoned chicken. Don’t forget the rice and kimchi. Enjoy!

Dak Gomtang AKA Korean Chicken Soup

Banish the sniffles, cure all ailments, and drive away the stay-at-home-Quarantine blues with a big pot of Dak Gomtang. A satisfying bowl of Korean Chicken Soup comfort.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: Chicken Soup, Dak Gomtang
Servings: 4
Author: The Subversive Table | Lis Lam

Equipment

  • Large stock pot with lid

Ingredients

Stock:

  • 1 3 lb whole chicken
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 large onion, peeled + chopped in half
  • 1 large carrot, chopped in half
  • 3-inch ginger, peeled + sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 9 cups cold water
  • 1 tsp mineral salt (to be added right before serving) (regular salt also works, if you don't have it)

Spicy Chicken Seasoning (optional):

  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Gochukaru (Korean chile flakes)
  • 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil

For serving:

  • 4-6 ounces dangmyeon (Korean sweet potato noodle) (use 6 oz if you like more noodles, 4 oz if you like less)
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • mineral salt (regular salt also works, if you don't have it)
  • black pepper

Instructions

Make the Stock:

  • Add whole chicken, onion, carrot, ginger, garlic, peppercorns, and 9 cups of cold water to a stock pot. Bring to a boil then cover and lower heat. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
    stock pot filled with whole chicken, carrot, onion, ginger, garlic
  • Remove cooked chicken to a separate platter. Cool chicken for 10 minutes. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite sized strips. Discard most of the chicken skin. Transfer the bones back into the soup pot. Simmer, covered, for another 30 minutes.
    black stock pot filled with chicken broth
  • While the soup simmers away, season the shredded chicken: divide chicken evenly between two bowls. Bowl 1: season with salt and pepper lightly, to taste. Bowl 2: add ingredients for Spicy Chicken Seasoning and mix until well combined. Transfer to serving bowls and set aside.
    shredded chicken in white bowl
  • Place Dang Myeon in a large, shallow bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 10-15 minutes. Drain.
    dang myeon (sweet potato noodle) in bowl, covered with water
  • When the soup is ready, discard all bones, vegetables, and peppercorns. Add 1 tsp of mineral salt to broth and stir. Add drained Dang Myeon and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft and pliant.
  • Serve with green onions, mineral salt, and the two bowls of seasoned chicken. Also, don't forget the rice and kimchi! Eat immediately and enjoy!
    wooden ladle in big soup pot

Notes

*The soup can be prepared in advance.  Make the soup according to recipe directions but do not soak the Dang Myeon with water until just before serving.  When ready to serve, simply warm up the chicken broth and cook the drained Dang Myeon until soft and pliant, about 3-4 minutes.  
**The Whole chicken can be substituted with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, drumsticks, wings, and/or breasts.  Shorten the cooking time and start checking for doneness at 15 minutes.  The chicken should be tender and cooked all the way through, without bloody parts.  

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