Spicy Udon and Clam Soup
© Maura McEvoy

Spicy Udon and Clam Soup


This dish is based on the classic Korean noodle soup kal gooksu (or "knife noodles," so named because the handmade dough is cut with a knife). In the traditional version, any spicy seasoning would be served on the side, but Cecilia Hae-Jin Lee opts to mix hers right into the bracing soup, adding spinach for extra flavor.

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  1. 1/2 pound dried udon
  2. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  4. 1 1/4 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce, plus more for serving
  5. 1 teaspoon pure ancho chile powder
  6. Pinch of sugar
  7. Salt
  8. 2 cups clam broth
  9. 2 cups water
  10. 24 littleneck clams, scrubbed
  11. 4 ounces baby spinach (4 cups)
  12. 2 scallions, thickly sliced
  1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the udon until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain, shaking out the excess water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the garlic, sesame oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons chili sauce, chile powder, sugar and a pinch of salt. Add the clam broth and water and bring to a boil. Add the clams and cook until opened, about 5 minutes; transfer the clams to a bowl.
  3. Add the spinach, scallions and udon to the broth and cook until the spinach is wilted, 1 minute. Ladle the udon soup into 4 bowls and top with the clams. Pass extra chili sauce at the table.

Suggested Pairing

Light white with a mineral edge, such as from Santorini.