Thursday, July 10, 2008

Spicy Cold Buckwheat Vermicelli

This spicy cold noodle dish is called Nengmyun also spelled as Naengmyeon, naeng-myeon, naengmyun, or naeng-myun. This is THE dish for summer season in Korea as one of the most popular dishes in summer. Not just in summer, this dish is commonly eaten along with Korean barbecue dishes. There are other variety of Nengmyun dishes such as Mool Nengmyun (cold noodle with icy beef broth), and Hwe Nengmyun (cold noodle with spicy pickled raw Skate fish). The noodle also has many different types including buckwheat Vermicelli, kudzu vermicelli (darkest in color), or green tea vermicelli. The use of this type of vermicelli is the key distinguishable point of this spicy cold noodle Nengmyun from the other one called Bibim Gooksu. Bibim Gooksu uses all wheat noodles and the sauce is also a little bit different. However, although Bibim Gooksu is still very popular during summer season in Korea, Nengmyun is still what represents the cold noodle as the name itself stands for “chilled noodle.” Unlike the Gooksu noodle, Nengmyun noodles give you a colder feeling to it as you put them in your mouth. In addition, the sauce is runnier with different natural ingredients such as grated pear, little bit of cold beef broth and tiny amount of sake. The flavor of every ingredient in harmony gives you a nice kick of spice, vinegar, and natural sweetness in a cold temperature.

1. First, slice cucumbers and daikon radish.

2. Put them in a container and pickle with vinegar, water, and sugar. The ratio between vinegar and water should be around 3:1 unless your vinegar is more acidic than usual. Leave the container in your refrigerator overnight.

3. Now, this is a spicy puree that goes onto the noodle later. For this puree, you will be using a mixer blending 5Tsp red chili powder, 2Tsp soy sauce, 1Tsp red chili paste, 1Tsp sesame oil, 1/2 Asian pear, 2tsp sake, 2 red fresh Serrano peppers, 2tsp brown sugar, 2Tsp corn syrup, 1/6 onion, 1Tsp minced garlic and Sprite or Seven Up.

4. Having finished the preparation, now cooking will start by first boiling eggs. Later this is to be cut in half. When boil eggs, put in a pinch of salt, which will later help you remove the shells more easily. Put the eggs in water from the beginning with cold water and cook for about 12 minutes altogether to have this nice and golden yolk that is not completely hard nor too runny.

Chilling the eggs in cold icy water before removing shells helps not only to chill the eggs but to easily remove the shells.

5. Now you will be boiling this buckwheat cold noodles called Nengmyun in Korean. When you go to a Korean super market, you will easily find noodles that look like this below.
In boiling water, cook only for 30 seconds and stir around to make sure the noodles do not stick to each other. Cooking over 1-2 minute will make the noodle too soft and mushy.

6. After your 30 seconds of cooking, quickly dump the noodles into a net and chill it icy cold. Make sure you leave no warm spots.

7. After draining the noodles, put them on a bowl for adding condiments.

Add the pickled daikon radish and cucumbers from step #1.

Add puree from step #3. In addition, you can add additional vinegar, and mustard. Sprinkle brown and black toasted sesame seeds for a final touch.


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