Naengmyeon (Korean Cold Noodle Soup)
REFRESHING ICE COLD NOODLES
This totally addictive dish is from North Korea, where my dad is from, so it’s dear to his heart. My mum used to make it for him in the summertime, and I can still remember the slurping noises at the dinner table when it was served.
Naengmyun noodles (similar to Japanese soba) are the best, as they contain buckwheat and sweet potato, which gives them a great chewy texture. They’re also thinner than regular buckwheat noodles, which make them perfect for slurping. The noodles are typically served within an ice cold, savoury, slightly sweet-tangy broth made from beef stock and the brine from fermented radish kimchi (dongchimi).
USER FRIENDLY VERSION
I make a simple version of this classic naengmyeon, using vinegar to mock the sour taste of the dongchimimul, which can be quite time consuming to make. The vinegar does the trick, and the broth tastes just as refreshing. A crisp pear, cucumber, and red onion salad tossed in a strong Korean mustard dressing complement the broth, bringing a bit of welcome texture and kick. I toss in ice cubes to keep everything cold, and serve it alongside a frosty beer.
Find out more about each ingredient and where to buy it by clicking on the ingredient links below!
- 475ml (16 fl oz) beef stock
- ¼ tsp caster sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- Pinch of sea salt
- 200g (7 oz) Korean sweet potato noodles (naengmyun)
- 180g (6 oz) julienned unpeeled Asian pear or other firm but ripe pear
- 2 Tbsp julienned unpeeled cucumber
- 2 Tbsp julienned red onion, soaked in iced water for 10 minutes and then drained
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- ½ tsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp prepared Korean mustard (gyeoja) or English mustard
- Pinch of sea salt
FOR THE NOODLES
Prepare an iced water bath.
In a medium saucepan, heat the stock with the sugar over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the vinegar and the salt, adding more vinegar to taste. Remove from the heat, pour into a heatproof container and chill over the iced water bath.
FOR THE SALADIn a small bowl, toss together all the salad ingredients.
Divide the noodles between two bowls. (Add some crushed ice to the base of the bowls to keep the noodles well chilled, if you like). Pour the cold broth over the noodles.
Pajeon (Korean Scallion Pancakes with Pork)
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