Today I’m going to show you how to make Korean potato dumpling soup, called gamja-ongsimi-guk (감자옹심이국). Gamja are potatoes, guk is soup, and ongsimi means some kind of balls or dumplings. You remember when I made rice cake balls for my red bean porridge recipe? Those are considered ongsimi but they were made with glutinous rice flour.
Potatoes have traditionally been a staple crop in the mountainous Northeastern Gangwondo region of Korea, so gamja-ongsimi are popular there. Every culture has their own way to prepare potato dumplings. German cuisine, for example, has potato balls mixed with more ingredients such as egg and flour. The Korean way is simple: we don’t add anything, just potato and salt, and the outcome is soft, smooth, a little chewy, and a little transparent. The texture is irresistible! It tastes like rice cake but a little different.
We use them in soup like gamja-ongsimi-guk, but you can use them in other recipes as a replacement for rice cake balls. On a recent trip to Montauk, Long Island I made cheese buldak but forgot to bring my rice cake. I improvised and used these potato dumplings instead. I was surprised by how well they worked and how great they tasted!
A few tips for this dish:
Use a grater when you crush the potatoes. You won’t get much starch if you use a food processor or a blender and the dumplings won’t turn out soft and chewy. Besides, they will break up easily while boiling and that the broth will turn cloudy with bits of potato.
You can use different types of broth if you want: chicken, beef or vegetable. Just be sure you have 4½ cups.
Surprise you family and friends with Korean Gamja-ongsimi-guk!
Serves 2 to 3
For anchovy kelp stock:
- 7 cups water
- 7 large dried anchovies, heads and guts removed
- 4 ounce (115 grams) peeled Korean radish (or daikon), sliced thinly
- 4 ounces onion, sliced thinly
- ½ ounce (15 grams) dried kelp
- 1¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For potato dumplings:
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled, and soaked in cold water
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
For the soup:
- 2 green onions, sliced diagonally
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ of a small zucchini (about 1 cup), cut into matchsticks
- ¼ cup worth of carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Make anchovy kelp stock:
- In a pan, bring the water to a boil. Add radish, onion, dried kelp, and anchovies. Boil for 20 minutes over medium high heat until the radish turns translucent.
- Strain over a bowl. You need 4½ cups of stock, so if you have less than that make up the difference with water.
- Put the stock into the pan and stir in 1¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Set aside for later.
Make potato dumplings:
- Grate the potatoes.
- Put a large cotton cloth (or a cheesecloth folded over 2 to 3 times) over a large empty bowl and put the grated potato into the center.
- Lift up the edges of the cotton cloth and bring them together, making a pouch with the potato in the middle. Twist the ends of the cloth together to seal the potato inside tightly. Some water and starch may leak out into the bowl as you do this, just keep it there for later.
- Submerge the pouch in a large bowl of cold water. Keep it tightly closed with one hand and massage it with your other hand to squeeze the starch from the pouch into the water. Get out as much starch as you can, and then bring the pouch out of the water and squeeze all the water out of it that you can. Set the pouch aside for later.
- Add the leftover starch and water from the first bowl, and let the water sit for 10 to 15 minutes, until the starch is completely settled on the bottom.
- Discard the brownish water from the top and keep the settled starch.
- Add the squeezed potato from the pouch and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.
- Mix it well by hand.
- Take some of the dough in your palms and roll it into a ball about the size of a quail egg. Make 24 to 28 balls this way.
Make potato dumpling soup:
- Bring the stock to a boil. Add the potato dumplings and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until they are floating.
- Add garlic, green onion, zucchini, and carrot. Cover and cook another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in sesame oil. Ladle to individual bowls and serve right away with kimchi.