05/23/2024

Flavorful and Healthy: Quick Korean Noodle Soup to Satisfy Spicy Asian Food Cravings

Experience the bold flavors of this speedy Korean noodle soup, designed to fulfill your spicy Asian food desires while maintaining a healthy profile. The broth derives its rich flavor from the dynamic duo of gochujang and kimchi, creating an explosion of taste. (Note: Despite its fiery appearance, the soup is not overly spicy, but it’s not recommended for children.)

Fire up Your Taste Buds: Spicy Korean Noodle Soup

This recipe is truly a gem because crafting a delicious spicy Asian soup can be quite challenging. Simply adding a dash of chili sauce to a traditional Chinese soup broth won’t suffice. What sets apart exceptional spicy Asian soups is the perfect balance of bold savory flavors that complement the spiciness. Achieving this requires either a rich homemade stock simmered for hours using a generous amount of bones or a skillful combination of elusive Asian sauces.

That’s why I’m thrilled to share this spicy Asian soup recipe, which has garnered my excitement. It has successfully passed the ultimate taste-testing challenge: my brother’s discerning palate. Known within our circle for his honest critiques of my recipes – you can find entertaining evidence of this in the backstory of my Chilli Lime Fish recipe!

Spice Level 

This soup undoubtedly packs a spicy punch with the addition of kimchi and gochujang, but it won’t blow your taste buds away. Although I claim to handle spicy food, I secretly can’t. But… shhhhh!!! Let’s keep that between us, as I wouldn’t want everyone to know how much of a chili wimp I truly am.

If you can’t handle spicy food at all, I recommend trying my Chinese Noodle Soup instead, which is completely chili-free. Unfortunately, you can’t really reduce the spiciness in this Korean noodle soup without compromising its flavor.

Finding truly exceptional spicy Asian soup broths that are also easy to make can be quite rare. Typically, it requires homemade stocks or hard-to-find Asian sauces. However, this Spicy Korean soup broth is a true gem, offering both simplicity and authenticity.


While I opted for egg noodles, feel free to use any variety of noodles that suits your preference.

Essential Ingredients: Kimchi and Gochujang


The star ingredients of this soup, which can be easily found in most regular grocery stores, are kimchi and gochujang. Gochujang, a delightfully flavorful Korean paste, is a must-have condiment in your refrigerator, especially if you plan on making this soup repeatedly! Further details provided below

  • Kimchi, a traditional Korean pickle made from fermented vegetables soaked in tangy and spicy brine, adds a distinctive flavor to dishes. In this soup, the cabbage variety of kimchi works best, as it acts as a flavor-absorbing sponge, enhancing the broth. Kimchi is now readily available in the refrigerated section of major grocery stores and Asian markets. For this recipe, we utilize both the flavorful sauce from the jar and the actual vegetables. Don’t let the sauce go to waste—it’s packed with flavor! Consider adding it to stir-fries or other Asian soups to infuse dishes with an extra kick of saltiness and spiciness
  • Gochujang, a fiery Korean paste bursting with savory flavors, is a staple ingredient in many of my Korean recipes. It adds a delightful kick to dishes, including my signature Slow Cooked Beef Ribs in Korean BBQ Sauce, which guarantees phenomenal results with minimal effort!

You can easily find gochujang these days in the Asian aisle of large grocery stores, typically not in the refrigerated section. It is also available in Asian specialty stores.

Additional Broth Ingredients

Here are the remaining ingredients needed for the Korean soup broth:

  • Chicken stock/broth: Opt for low-sodium to avoid excessive saltiness once all the sauces are incorporated.
  • Fish sauce: Enhances the saltiness and imparts more flavor compared to plain salt or soy sauce.
  • Soy sauce: Adds additional saltiness to the broth (relying solely on fish sauce can make it too fishy). Light or all-purpose soy sauce is recommended, as dark soy sauce has a stronger flavor.
  • Chinese cooking wine: Alternatively, you can use mirin or dry sherry. Even a small amount contributes depth and complexity to soups and sauces. Omitting it may result in the soup lacking a certain “something.” If needed, you can substitute with more fish sauce (refer to recipe notes).
  • Ginger and garlic: Infuse the broth with their aromatic flavors, elevating its overall taste.

Soup Additions

  • Choy sum and carrots: In this soup, I’ve included choy sum and carrots. However, feel free to personalize it by using your preferred cookable vegetables.
  • Kimchi: As mentioned earlier, we utilize the flavorful juices from the kimchi jar to enhance the broth. Additionally, the cabbage itself adds a punch of Korean spicy goodness.
  • Noodles: You have the freedom to choose any type of noodles you desire. Personally, I enjoy using thin dried egg noodles for this recipe. Nevertheless, feel free to use any noodles of your choice, following the instructions on the packet.
  • Choy sum: I love incorporating Asian greens into quick-prep recipes. They are easy to chop and provide a delightful contrast in textures, with a crisp stem and tender leafy parts. If desired, you can substitute choy sum with other Asian greens like bok choy or gai lan (Chinese broccoli).
  • Carrot: Adds a satisfying crunch and a pop of vibrant color to the soup! I’ve cut them into batons, but slicing them at an angle works just as well. The shape is not crucial.
  • Green onion: Optional, but it serves as a fresh garnish for a finishing touch.

How to Prepare Spicy Korean Noodle Soup

This recipe follows a streamlined process. Start by pouring the stock into a saucepan and bringing it to a simmer. As the stock heats up, measure and add the remaining ingredients into the broth. Let the broth simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. In the meantime, chop the vegetables and cook the noodles. Finally, assemble the soup bowls by combining all the prepared components.

  1. Choy Sum Cutting: Start by trimming the roots off the choy sum. Cut it into 7cm / 2.5″ pieces and separate the stems from the leafy part. This separation is important because the stems take longer to cook compared to the quick-wilting leaves. Add the stems to the pot towards the end.
  2. Kimchi: Measure out 2/3 cups of kimchi and 2 tablespoons of kimchi juice. If necessary, press and squeeze the cabbage to extract the juice. It’s crucial for the flavor, so make sure not to skimp on it!
  3. Simmer the Broth for 10 Minutes: Combine all the broth ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Simmering the kimchi cabbage with the broth ingredients helps extract the kimchi juices, adding depth of flavor.
  4. Cook the Vegetables: Cook the bok choy stems and carrots for 2 minutes, followed by the leafy part of the choy sum for just 1 minute. That’s all it takes! The broth is now ready to be assembled with the noodles.
  5. Cook the Noodles: While the broth is simmering, cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Once cooked, drain them.
  6. Assemble: Place the cooked noodles in a bowl, then ladle the soup broth and all the desired add-ins over them. If using, sprinkle with green onions. Serve and enjoy!

This is an incredibly satisfying dinner option for those moments when you crave something healthy, quick, spicy, or comforting. It offers remarkable versatility with the choice of add-ins: customize it with your preferred vegetables, noodles, and even add protein if desired.

While I encourage you to personalize the soup according to your taste, I must emphasize the importance of the soup broth. After numerous trials and passionate “discussions” among my team, we settled on the combination and quantity of sauces that yield the most flavorful soup. While skipping any of the sauces won’t ruin the dish, it may not reach its full potential.

I genuinely hope you give the broth a try as written one of these days! And remember, you can find all the necessary ingredients at major supermarkets in Australia such as Coles, Woolies, and Harris Farms.

Watch a video tutorial on how to make Korean Spicy Noodles

Check out the recipe video above. Whenever you’re in the mood for a quick and spicy Asian noodle dish, this recipe is perfect. It delivers a powerful burst of flavors, thanks to the kimchi juices and a generous amount of gochujang, the incredible spicy Korean paste that is widely available nowadays.

To incorporate protein, you can cook raw prawns/shrimp or fish pieces in the broth for just 3 minutes, or add slices of BBQ pork on top. Another option is to poach chicken in the broth using a foolproof method.

Ingredients

SPICY KOREAN SOUP BROTH

  • 4 cups / 1 litre of low-sodium chicken stock/broth
  • 2/3 cup of cabbage kimchi
  • 2 tablespoons of kimchi juice (from the kimchi tub)
  • 3 tablespoons of gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of fish sauce (or substitute with more soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine (Shaoxing wine)
  • 2 slices of ginger (0.7cm / 1/3″ thick, with the skin on)
  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed

ADD-INS:

  • 200g/ 7oz of thin fresh egg noodles (or 100g/3.5oz of dried noodles)
  • 4 stems of choi sum or other Asian greens, cut into 7cm / 2.5″ lengths, with stems separated from the leafy part
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of toasted sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of finely sliced green onions (1 stem)

Instructions

Broth:To prepare the broth, place all the ingredients in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Allow the broth to simmer for 10 minutes without covering it with a lid.

Cook vegetables: Add the choi sum stems and carrot to the broth and let them simmer for 2 minutes. Then, add the choi sum leaves and continue simmering for another minute. Just before serving, stir in the sesame oil.

Noodles:While the broth is simmering, cook the egg noodles in boiling water according to the packet directions. Once cooked, drain the noodles and give them a quick rinse under tap water. Shake off any excess water thoroughly.

Assemble: Divide the noodles evenly among the bowls. Arrange the vegetables on top of the noodles. Remove the garlic and ginger from the broth, then pour the broth over the noodles. Sprinkle with green onions and serve immediately!

Recipe Notes:

  1. Kimchi is a traditional Korean pickled vegetable dish that is fermented and packed in tangy, spicy juice. It is widely available in the refrigerated section of large grocery stores or Asian stores. Extract the juice by pressing a spoon against the cabbage (there is usually plenty of juice in the jar, you just need to extract it!).
  2. Gochujang is a spicy Korean rice and bean paste that is rich in savory flavor. It is used in one of the signature recipes in my cookbook: Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs! It is also commonly used in many other Korean recipes that I have shared.
  3. Soy sauce – Use light or all-purpose soy sauce, but avoid using dark soy sauce as it has a stronger flavor. You can find more information on different types of soy sauces here.
  4. Chinese cooking wine – You can substitute it with mirin or dry sherry. If you prefer a non-alcoholic substitute, you can use an additional 1½ teaspoons of fish sauce.
  5. Smashed garlic – Place the side of a knife on the garlic clove and hit the palm of your hand on it to make the clove burst open while still holding together.
  6. Noodles – Feel free to use any type of noodles you prefer
  7. Vegetables – You are welcome to substitute the vegetables with any other vegetables that you prefer.
  8. Sesame oil – Toasted sesame oil, which is brown in color, has a stronger flavor compared to untoasted sesame oil, which is yellow. In Australia, toasted sesame oil is more commonly available, while untoasted sesame oil may be harder to find.

Leftovers – Store the broth and noodles separately in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat them separately and then combine them when serving.

Nutrition per serving.

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