Cold spicy noodles offer antidote to summer heat
With temperatures soaring, I give you three little words of comfort: Korean! Cold! Noodles!
A traditional dish, it’s called bibim guksu — mixed noodles — and it’s packed with kimchee and other kicky condiments that form a sort of sweet-and-sour kimchee dressing.
Many of these ingredients are available at an ordinary supermarket, and virtually everything can be bought online, but it’s more fun to go to a Korean grocery, if only to see all the types of kimchee.
As for the how of it, you first assemble the sauce, with chopped kimchee, ginger, garlic, sesame and two types of red pepper (paste and flakes).
I add a little miso for depth. A little brown sugar, some vinegar, some lime juice.
There’s no flame involved.
Cold Spicy Kimchee Noodles
MAKES 4 TO 6 SERVINGS
For the dressing: 1 cup finely chopped kimchee, plus 2 tablespoons kimchee juice 1 medium garlic clove, grated 2 teaspoons grated ginger 2 tbsp brown sugar 1 tbsp gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) 1 tbsp Japanese red miso 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 tbsp rice vinegar 2 tbsp lime juice 1 tsp orange zest 1 tsp fish sauce ½ tsp gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) Salt For the noodles: 8 ounces flat rice noodles or soba noodles 1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced into half-moons (about 1 cup) 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes 3 or 4 large red radishes, sliced into thin rounds ½ cup scallions, slivered 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced (optional) 3 eggs, boiled for 7 minutes, cooled in ice water, peeled and halved (cook 9 min. for a firmer yolk) 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds Cilantro sprigs or chopped cilantro, for garnish Lime wedges, for serving
Total time: 30 minutes 1. Make the sauce: Put the kimchee, juice, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, gochujang, miso, sesame oil, rice vinegar, lime juice, orange zest, fish sauce and gochugaru in a mixing bowl, and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust salt. Let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes (or you can store overnight in the fridge, covered).
2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for about 5 minutes, or until cooked through but still firm. Drain in a colander, transfer to a bowl of cold water to cool, then drain again and set aside, covered with a towel.
3. Just before serving, put noodles in a large mixing bowl. Add the sauce, along with cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, scallions and chili (if using) and toss gently to coat. Divide among individual serving bowls. Top each bowl with a halved egg, sesame seeds, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
This cold noodle dish, a great antidote to the summer heat, is a breeze to put together, despite the long list of ingredients.