Cooking with Papa C: Soojaebee

Papa C is kero’s daddy.  Yes, I still call him “daddy”.  When I am 50, I will still call him daddy.  xo.  Papa C is also an excellent cook.  What makes him so great is his creativity, which is probably where I get my penchant for tweaking recipes and winging others.

So, last night my daddy taught me how to make soojaebee, which is a Korean soup with pieces of dough — essentially pasta that’s hand torn.  That may sound weird, but think gnocchi in bigger, torn off pieces.  This is an easy soup that’s also very customizable.   We made a quick version last night with chicken stock (instead of the dashima, anchovy stock) and seafood.  My dad doesn’t use measurements, so I’ll be giving you my approximations here.  You can tweak as you go to your taste.  People familiar with Soojaebee may raise their eyebrows at this version, but like I said, my daddy likes to switch it up.

Prep Work:

For the dough:

  • Mix flour and water (approx 3:1) and knead until smooth.
  • Form into a ball, put into a bowl, cover and let it hang out (my dad says overnight in the fridge is best).

For the soup:  Prep the things you’d like to add.

  • We had one potato, peeled and sliced to about 1/4″ thickness.
  • Cleaned our seafood:  shrimp, oysters, octopus.
  • Sliced up some green onions, about 1-2 stalks.
  • And half a regular yellow onion (quarter slices).  We used the quarter piece that was also leftover from my frittata.  =)
  • Julienned half a hobak, which is a Korean squash.  Zucchini might be a good substitute.
  • You could also omit the seafood.  Add enoki mushrooms.  Or maybe pieces of chicken.

Making the soup:

* Don’t forget to check your seasoning and salt & pepper, to taste.  We had the saltiness of the seafood, so we didn’t add any extra.

  • In a big pot, pour in the chicken stock over med-high heat.  Depending on how much you’re making, about (2) 16 oz cans for about 3-4 servings.  Add an additional cup or so of water.
  • Add minced garlic, about a Tspn+, to your taste.
  • Add the potatoes and let cook a couple minutes then add the onions.
  • Add the seafood, excluding the shrimp (basically you add in the order of how long the things take to cook).
  • This is the fun part!  Get your dough and have a bowl of water handy in case you need to re-wet your hands.
    • Wet your hands and take a big piece of dough, and start pulling and stretching a section to thin it out before tearing off a piece and dropping it into the soup.
    • This part doesn’t need to be perfect, because it will all taste good.  Mine were either too small, too thick, or so thin I tore a hole in it.  But I got better towards the end.  =)
    • They’re totally not going to be uniform, but if I had to give a measurement, I’d say approx 2″x2″ pieces.
    • If your hands get too sticky, re-wet them.
    • Give the soup a stir every now and then.
  • Add the shrimp.  Let the soup cook for a few more minutes.
  • When everything in the soup looks like it’s almost done, add the green onions and squash.  You don’t want these overcooked.
  • A couple more minutes and you’re done!

So yummy with the dough having soaked up all that delicious broth.  And the starches from the dough and potato slightly thicken up the soup.  A comforting, filling meal!

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