Soo jae bi (or sujebi) is a popular, and simple and economical Korean noodle soup, which is also called “hand torn noodle soup.” It is flavourful with a light-coloured (almost white) broth and very thin noodles. To keep its pale colour, use salt instead of soy sauce to adjust the seasoning.
600 g (1-1/3 lbs) Bone-in chicken drumsticks (4-6 drumsticks)—see notes
1 Onion, sliced
2-3 Garlic cloves, minced (to taste)
15 ml (1 tablespoon) Light soy sauce
1.25 ml (¼ teaspoon) Black pepper (to taste)
225 g (½ lb) Boiling potatoes, sliced to 5-7 mm thickness (1 good sized potato)
3 Green onions (optional)
Vegetables (see notes)
For the noodles:
Mix the salt and pepper into the flour. Mix in enough water to form a smooth and sticky dough. Form into a ball and slip into a lightly oiled zippy bag or covered bowl and rest in the fridge until you’re ready to make them.
For the soup:
Add the chicken to the water and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and continue simmering until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove the legs and let them rest until cool enough to handle. Then, remove and discard the skin and bones, and shred the meat.
If you wish, strain the broth through cheesecloth or a fine-meshed sieve. Return the broth to the pot and add the meat, potatoes, onions, and garlic. Bring to a boil.
As the soup reheats, pull teaspoon-sized pieces from the dough and flatten them into thin palm-sized sheets (see notes). You can make them smaller if you wish.
When the potatoes are fully cooked, drop the noodles into the broth and cook them. Stir often to prevent sticking.
Add vegetables (if using) and cooking until tender-crisp.
Slice the white and light green parts of the green onions to 2.5 cm (1”) lengths; finely slice the dark green parts. Stir into the soup. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Serve soo jae bi hot, on its own or with a side of rice.
Chicken stock or broth can be used instead of water.
This soup can be made with more chicken, for a richer broth. For this quantity, you can use up to 750 g/1.5 lbs (eight drumsticks).
Avoid vegetables such as celery, that would impart too strong a flavour to the broth. I used sliced mushrooms and red bell peppers. Other options include regular or Chinese broccoli or courgettes/zucchini. If you use carrots, add them at the beginning of the soup-making process to ensure they are fully cooked.
Remember this is not a vegetable soup, so don’t add too many.
For gluten-free noodles, use rice flour instead of all-purpose flour.
To make the noodles, I found I got the thinnest noodles by stretching them in two stages:
Flatten the noodles as thinly as possible, then tack them to the counter and let them rest under a barely damp tea towel for at least 10 minutes.
When you’re ready to cook the noodles, carefully pull and stretch them so they are as thin as you can possibly make them without tearing. It’s similar to testing bread gluten with the windowpane test.