It was one of those “busy-lazy” days when cooking was low on my list, but we were hungry. Mr. Tess had found edamame beans and some lovely cherry tomatoes at the Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market, and we had a large piece of beautiful but left-over Atlantic salmon.
||Wash the edamame.
Boil in salted water for about 8 minutes.
Rinse in cold water, chill, and serve.
Use your front teeth to pull the beans
from the pods
I found a pear in the fruit bowl, a small cucumber and some still usable green onions in the fridge.
Those ingredients suggested something with quick and easy with noodles. Glancing around the kitchen, I saw the Korean buckwheat noodles standing in a tall jar on the counter.
While these are buckwheat noodles, they are very different from Japanese soba. These are made from wheat flour, buckwheat (메밀, memil), and potato starch, sweet potato starch, and kudzu.
These noodles are 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 symbolize long life and good health, but these days, servers at restaurants usually provide food scissors to cut the noodles.
When I made this meal last spring, I made the broth with beef brisket, garlic, ginger, green onions chili pepper, vinegar and soy sauce. The package of noodles came with packets to make an instant sauce and while I could already guess the result, I wanted to see what it would be like.
The noodles are pleasantly nutty, chewy, and stretchy. They cook fast: 2 minutes and they are ready to rinse! They can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge; if they stick together pour cold water over them.
The green onions are a traditional topping, as is the pear. The pear adds a nice crunch and sweetness to the dish. Other traditional toppings include daikon (sliced and soaked in vinegar), cucumber (sliced and soaked in salt and vinegar), half a boiled egg, and thinly sliced beef. In this case, for this home-meal, I used flaked salmon—a nice meaty fish—and some great cherry tomatoes. All very pretty.
So how was the instant powdered broth? Salty but bland, nothing like the real beef broth, but it was very quick, didn’t mess up the kitchen, and with condiments, well, the broth was wet.