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.Plus: More Soup Recipes and Tips

Spicy Udon and Clam Soup
Photo: © Maura McEvoy
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1/2 pound dried udon

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce, plus more for serving

  • 1 teaspoon pure ancho chile powder

  • Pinch of sugar

  • Salt

  • 2 cups clam broth

  • 2 cups water

  • 24 littleneck clams, scrubbed

  • 4 ounces baby spinach (4 cups)

  • 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.

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