|The label read, “Korean Style Noodles with Buckwheat, “Pyongyang Mul Neng Myeon,” and “Vermecille.” One can see thin brown noodles through the window on the package. I had a vague but good memory of eating these noodles at a restaurant with my daughter: buckwheat noodles in cold beef broth topped with cucumber, pear, radish, thin beef slices and boiled egg. I was thinking about the broth left from the Korean soy braised beef (changjorim or jangjorim) that would be a crime to waste.
Pyongyang (capital of North Korea—historic source of the dish)
naengmyeon (hangul: 냉면), naeng-myeon, naengmyun, naeng-myun.)
|This dish is popular year-round in Korea, especially in summer. You can eat these noodles with icy tangy broth (mul naengmyeon) or with a hot and spicy sauce (bibim naengmyeon). Spicy mustard and vinegar are often added at the table. (also sometimes: hot pepper paste, sesame seeds, sesame oil, corn syrup, or honey) Traditionally, the long noodles would be eaten without cutting, as they symbolized longevity of life and good health, but modernly, servers at restaurants usually provide food scissors to cut the noodles.
|While these are buckwheat noodles, they are very different from Japanese soba. They are made from wheat flour, buckwheat (메밀, memil), and potato starch, sweet potato starch, and kudzu. The package also contains four little packs of powdered soup flavoring. hmm…
Korean Cold Noodle Soup
by Ji Sook Choe and Yukiko Moriyama
- 14 ounces (400 g) beef (shank or brisket)
- 3 quarts water
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 ounce ginger, thinly sliced
- 2 green onions, green only
- 1 chili pepper
- 3 Tablespoons vinegar
- 1 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon peppercorns
- 3 Tablespoons vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
|Soak the beef in cold water for 1 hour. Rinse and discard the water. Put the beef into a saucepan; add the water, garlic, ginger, green onions, chili, 3 TBS. vinegar, soy sauce, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 3 hours. (Skim off the foam as necessary.)
Strain the broth, discarding vegetables, reserving meat. Chill to remove all the fat.
Just before serving, add 3 TBS. vinegar and 2 teaspoons sugar.
|Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise. Thinly slice diagonally. Sprinkle with salt and vinegar. Let it stand about five minutes. Rinse and squeeze out water.
|¼ daikon radish:
- ½ TBS salt
- 1 TBS vinegar
- ½ tsp ground chili pepper
- ½ tsp ginger juice
- crushed garlic
- pinch of sugar
|Slice the daikon into 1/8-inch thick rectangles. Sprinkle with salt and vinegar. Let it stand about five minutes. Rinse and squeeze out water. Mix the daikon with chili, ginger juice, garlic, and sugar.
|Prepare other toppings:
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- ¼ Asian pear (or other pear), sliced
- beef from the soup, thinly sliced
- mustard powder (reconstituted)
- chili bean paste (toban jian)
- 22 ounce package Korean Style Noodles with Buckwheat (Neng Myeon)
Put the noodles into a large pot of vigorously boiling water. They cook in about 2 minutes! Drain. Rinse under cold water until all the starch is gone and the water runs clear.
Divide noodles among 4 chilled bowls. Pour chilled broth over the noodles. Top with an arrangement of pear, cucumber, daikon, beef and hard-boiled egg. Have vinegar, mustard, and toban jiang available for the diners to add as they like.