Keep Cool This Summer with Korean Ice Noodles
Summer is upon us, and temperatures are soon going to reach their yearly high. Korean cuisine has just the right dish to keep cool: a traditional meal dating back to the Joseon Dynasty.
Naengmyeon (냉면) or Mul Naengmyeon (물냉면) is a traditional Korean dish, with its name roughly translated to “ice noodles.” The thin noodles are made from buckwheat and placed into a beef stock broth that has been chilled until it becomes slush.
10 ounces (280 grams) dried naengmyeon noodles
2 packets of liquid or powdered concentrated broth that comes with the package of naengmyeon noodles
2 packets of mustard oil that comes with the package of naengmyeon noodles
½ cucumber, cut into thin strips
1 Korean pear (or 2 European pears)
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar
1 hard-boiled egg, cut into halves
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, ground
There are three main steps to preparing naengmyeon: making the broth, preparing the garnishes and cooking the noodles.
When purchasing traditional naengmyeon noodles, most units come with packets of premade broth so time doesn’t need to be spent making it from scratch. Simply put the prepackaged broth into a bowl with 4 cups of water, then freeze for 4 to 5 hours.
1. Create pickled cucumbers by combining them with salt, sugar, and vinegar in a bowl.
2. Make sugar water by mixing one cup of water and one teaspoon of sugar.
3. Peel the pear and slice into halves. Slice one half into thin strips and soak them in the sugar water to keep them from going brown.
4. Grate the other half of the pear and squeeze out the juice using a cotton cloth or cheesecloth. This should yield about ½ cup of pear juice. If using small European pears, use one for garnish and the other for pear juice.
5. Take the bowl of broth out of the freezer. Squeeze some cucumber brine into the broth and add the pear juice.
6. Mix well and put the broth back in the fridge or freezer until the noodles are ready.
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and stir with a wooden spoon. Cover and let them cook for three to five minutes.
2. Take a sample to taste. When chewed, the noodles shouldn’t be hard. Be sure not to overcook them or they’ll go soggy.
3. Strain and rinse the noodles in cold running water until they aren’t slippery anymore and are well cooled.
4. Fill a large bowl with cold water and some ice cubes. Add the noodles and rinse them a final time.
5. Drain the noodles and divide them into two large shallow bowls.
Putting It Together
1. Pour the icy broth into each bowl.
2. Place the cucumber and pear on top.
3. Add a packet of mustard oil to each bowl.
4. Sprinkle with some sesame seed powder. Add half of an egg on top of each bowl.
5. Serve right away.
And there it is! A nice and refreshing meal to keep the summer heat at bay.
*Recipe and photos taken from maangchi.com