Making Korean Summer Noodles, Three Ways
Technically, the noodles used in this post is the wrong kind of noodles. The correct noodles would be the naengmyeon; made from the flour and starch of various ingredients like buckwheat (메밀, memil), potatoes, sweet potatoes, 칡냉면 and a variety made with the starch from arrowroot (darker color and chewier than buckwheat noodles). I’m using noodles made from sweet potatoes, but I’m sure any other type will be acceptable.
The one thing you must know about the recipes to follow is that they have three ingredients in common:
2. A variety of crunchy vegetables like carrot and cabbage.
3. Hard boiled eggs. Slice ‘em, dice ‘em, halve ‘em - whatever. I personally sometimes think what’s the point of adding half a boiled egg on top. Do you eat it at the beginning? Do you eat it at the end? I mean, it’s consistency is too hard to be mixed into the noodles therefore not wouldn’t really play a part, flavor-wise. So I slice mine, and sometimes quarter them just so that it’ll be easier to be incorporated into the noodles. Whichever way you decide, these three cold noodle recipes will definitely help you get through the summer heat wave.
MUL NAENG-MYEON (물 냉면 ) / KOREAN COLD NOODLES IN ICY SAVORY BROTH: (serves 2):
[ ¼ lb Naengyeon Noodles (thin noodles made from buckwheat and sweet potato) + 2 cups chicken broth + 2 cups beef broth, unsalted + 2-3 tablespoon brown rice vinegar + Eggs, hard-boiled and sliced in half + ½ of a cucumber, seeded and julienned + 1 small Asian pear, julienned or cut into thin slices + 1/2 teaspoon sugar + ice cubes + 1 teaspoon sesame seeds ] OPTIONAL: ¼ cup pickled radish + cooked brisket or beef shank + Korean hot mustard
Mix the cooled chicken and beef broths together with vinegar. Add more salt or vinegar to taste. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes if possible.
Cook noodles according to package directions, about 4-5 minutes in boiling water. Drain noodles and rinse well in cold water to stop cooking and eliminate some excess starch.
Distribute noodles into bowls, pour a generous amount of chilled broth and a few ice cubes to cover almost of all of noodles. Place the cucumbers, pear slices, and pickled radish on top of the noodles and then top everything with the hard-boiled egg.
BIBIM-NAENGMYEON (비빔 냉면) / KOREAN COLD SPICY NOODLES(serves 2):
[ ¼ lb Naengyeon Noodles (thin noodles made from buckwheat and sweet potato) + 1/2 teaspoon water + 2 tablespoon sugar + 1 tablespoon vinegar + 1 tablespoon Gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) + 2 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) + 1 asian or Bosc pear + 1/4 of an onion + 2 garlic cloves + 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled + + 1 tablespoon sesame oil + 1 tablepsoon soy sauce + eggs, hard boiled + 1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced ]
Thinly slice the cucumber on the diagonal, then toss with 1 teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of salt, vinegar and a pinch of gotchukaru, and set aside. Peel the pear and thinly slice one quarter, then cover with water mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar.
In a food processor, combine another quarter of pear (roughly chopped), onion, garlic, ginger, 1 tablespoon each of gotchukaru, gotchujang, vinegar, sesame seeds and soy sauce. Process until nearly smooth. Add sesame oil and stir well, then refrigerate.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. When at a full, roiling boil, add the noodles and cook for about 5 minutes (it should be very al dente). Rinse the noodles repeatedly with cold water to stop the cooking process. Repeat as many times as needed so that the noodles become very cold.
Divide the noodles between the cold bowls and either place them back in the refrigerator for another 15-20 minutes or serve immediately. To serve, pour sauce over the noodles (enough to evenly coat all of the noodles), top with cucumbers, pear slices, and half of an egg.
KIMCHI BIBIM GUKSU (비빔국수) / SPICY COLD NOODLES WITH KIMCHI (serves 2):
[ 8 - 10 ounces somyeon (somen) noodles + 1 cup thinly sliced kimchi (fully fermented) + 1/4 cup juice from kimchi (use a little more soy sauce and vinegar if unavailable) + 1 tablespoon Korean red chili pepper paste, gochujang (adjust to taste) + 1 tablespoon soy sauce + 2 tablespoon sugar + 2 tablespoons rice or apple vinegar + 1 tablespoon sesame oil + 1 tablespoon sesame seeds + 1/2 of a cucumber, thinly sliced + 1/4 cup sliced cabbage + eggs, hard boiled and sliced ]
Combine the sliced kimchi and of the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Add the noodles to the pot of boiling water. Cook the noodles according to the package instructions (3 - 4 minutes). Drain quickly and shock in cold water to stop cooking. Drain and rinse in cold water again. Repeat until the noodles become cold. Drain well.
Combine the noodles with the kimchi sauce, and toss everything until the noodles are evenly coated with the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning to taste, if necessary. Garnish with the vegetables and serve cold.
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