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
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
2 cups clam broth
2 cups water
24 littleneck clams, scrubbed
4 ounces baby spinach (4 cups)
2 scallions, thickly sliced
How to Make It
In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the udon until al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain, shaking out the excess water.
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.
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.
Light white with a mineral edge, such as from Santorini.
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