Ivan Pahk's Family Meal at Sansei Restaurant & Sushi Bar

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- Helen

Executive Chef Ivan Pahk of Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bars in Kapalua and K?hei, Maui, grew up on Oahu’s North Shore. Every Sunday (every single one), his mother would make this comforting soup, which she called kooksoo (Korean for noodle soup), along with homemade kimchee and Korean braised pork with kochujang, a Korean chili pepper sauce. Ivan started making it for his staff, and they liked it so much that he now runs it as a special at the restaurants.

The soup typifies a good family meal – fix it and forget it. After browning some onions, you toss everything in a pot, and continue on with your prep for the day. A mere 45 minutes later, dinner is ready.

Serves 6

  • 2 packages somen noodles
  • 1 white onion, medium dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups shoyu (or regular or low sodium soy sauce)
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cans Coral tuna in oil (any brand will do)
  • 1 medium sized daikon radish, cubed
  • 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup scallions (both green and white parts)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Sambal, for serving (optional)

1. Cook the somen according to package directions. Shock the noodles in ice water and set aside.

2. In an 8-quart soup pot (or any stock pot) over medium heat, caramelize the onion and garlic in the oil until very light brown, about 2 minutes.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the green onion and cilantro. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Put a portion of noodles into individual soup bowls. Ladle the soup over the noodles and garnish with the scallion and cilantro. I add a little sambal 'cause I like it spicy.