The sweltering hot weather in Malaysia right now is just clamouring for cold noodles! This bibim naengmyeon recipe I found in my latest favourite cook book totally fits the bill combining refreshing fruity flavours from the pear and an appetising heat from the spicy and slightly sweet dressing. I started my love affair with Korean cuisine while still living in Southern California and as there is a large Korean American population relatively close to where I lived, I was spoilt for choice with delicious fare at many Korean restaurants and ingredients were also readily available with many Korean grocery stores in the vicinity. Well, after I moved back to Malaysia, I guess I was am still not used to the fact that I had to literally hunt down Korean grocery stores and I have to say that I miss the large ones in the US, let’s just say it took me a few trips to get gochugaru from a local Korean ‘grocery store’ – I was quite miffed when the attendant matter-of-factly informed me that the chilli powder has been out of stock “for a while”, I mean this is such a basic ingredient in Korean cooking or am I just being a picky, irate (no longer) customer?
Alright, rant complete – I can’t sing enough praises of glorious cold noodles from all factions, I mean I love zaru soba, hiyashi chuka, and now there’s another one to add to my list. Bibim Naengmyeon is probably the easiest one to make yet, not much time at the stove is involved – you just need to boil the noodles and make the hard-boiled egg, in fact you can even skip the egg. The spicy dressing is gochujang-based with fragrant toasted sesame seeds, minced garlic, sesame oil, soy, sugar and gochugaru. The noodles need to be chilled for about 30 minutes and trust me, you will enjoy these refreshingly cool noodles but this is of course coming from a fan of cold noodles. I know that some people are not fond of cold noodles (hello dear sister), but if you have not had cold noodles ever, I think you should give it one try before you dismiss it eh? Who knows, you may discover something new that you totally love.
Recipe adapted from Book of Japanese and Korean Cooking
1/2 packet of cha soba noodles or use Korean wheat noodles
1 hard-boiled egg, sliced into halves
1/2 Asian pear, cut into strips
1 stalk green onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced finely
2 tbsps gochujang
1 tbsp gochugaru (lessen if you want it less spicy)
1 tsp of light soy sauce or to taste
1/2 tsp sugar or to taste
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Firstly, boil the noodles according to package instructions, or until al-dente. Drain and rinse a few times with cold water. Place noodles in bowl and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, prepare the sauce by mixing the ingredients listed above together in a bowl. Do a taste test and add more or less of the ingredients above according to your preferences.
To serve, place the noodles into a serving bowl and place the egg on the noodles. Add the pear strips and green onions to the noodles. Sprinkle more toasted sesame seeds on top. Finally, spoon the dressing onto the noodles and mix well right before eating. You can also add some ice cubes onto the plate right before serving.