Spicy and cool, this traditional Korean dish for hot weather is made with buckwheat noodles, various crunchy veggie toppings, and a spicy chili sauce.
Japanese soba (buckwheat) noodles are used for this recipe, which you can usually find in the international section of the grocery store. You can also use somen noodles, Korean wheat noodles (guksu), arrow root noodles, sweet potato starch noodles, or even spaghetti or angel hair pasta. The toppings are flexible as well. Add, subtract, adjust to your taste and availability.
- 1 lb soba (buckwheat) noodles (can sub practically any favorite noodle)
Choose from assorted toppings:
- Lettuce, thinly sliced
- Green and/or red cabbage, thinly sliced
- Cucumber, julienned
- Carrot, julienned
- Asian pear, julienned
- Green onions, thinly sliced
- Sesame (perilla) leaves, thinly sliced (while traditional for this dish, you can skip)
- Radish sprouts
- Cabbage and/or radish kimchi
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 4 Tbsp Korean red chili paste (gochu jang)*
- 4 Tbsp rice vinegar (un-seasoned or seasoned will both work)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar (light or dark)
- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
* Korean red chile paste is a thick, sweet, and slightly garlicky paste made of fermented red chiles. It is available at some asian food stores and at Korean markets. If it is unavailable in your area feel free to use this substitute with similar results:
1 tablespoon hot paprika (or can use 1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika plus 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
5 teaspoons corn syrup (light or dark)
1 teaspoon miso paste (miso is fermented and will help approximate the flavor of the gochu jang, if you don't have it, you can omit)
1 mashed garlic clove
1 tablespoon water
Salt, to taste
1 On the stovetop, fill a medium large pot with water and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, prepare toppings and the sauce. Prepare the lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, asian pear, sesame leaves and radish sprouts. Set aside. Cut each hard boiled egg in half. Set aside.
2 In a small bowl, combine red pepper paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Stir to combine and set aside.
3 Once the water is boiling, add buckwheat, or other type, of noodle and cook according to package instructions, or about six minutes, until al dente. When noodles are finished cooking, pour into a collander and rinse with cold water and drain. To quickly cool your noodles you may also place a few ice cubes in the collander or place the drained noodles into the freezer for a short time, just don't forget them!
4 To serve, place cooled noodles in a medium sized bowl. Top with dressing and vegetables/fruit of your choice. Place one of the hard-boiled egg halves on top and a few radish sprouts.
Yield: Serves 3-4.