Friday, July 15, 2011

Korean spicy cold noodles

Elise has outdone herself with this one. The sauce prominently features this Korean red sauce I am obsessed with -- called gochu jang; I loved it on my bibim bop so much that I asked a waiter to write it down for me and then plunked the card down in front of some poor guy at the Asian grocery so I could buy it -- and then makes it even better, thinner and slightly diluted so it doesn't hit you in the face quite so hard.

Perfect summer meal (although parents and delicate palates, be warned -- this is really very spicy and you can't control the spice level, because the gochu jang is what it is).

  • 1 lb soba (buckwheat) noodles (can sub practically any favorite noodle)

Choose from assorted toppings: [I used lettuce, cilantro, cabbage/carrot slaw from the bag, cucumber, and scallions]

  • Lettuce, thinly sliced
  • Green and/or red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Cucumber, julienned
  • Carrot, julienned
  • Asian pear, julienned
  • Green onions, thinly sliced
  • Sesame (perilla) leaves, thinly sliced (while traditional for this dish, you can skip)
  • Radish sprouts
  • Cabbage and/or radish kimchi
  • 2 hard boiled eggs (this would also be great with a fried egg on top)


  • 4 Tbsp Korean red chili paste (gochu jang)*
  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar (un-seasoned or seasoned will both work)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

* Korean red chile paste is a thick, sweet, and slightly garlicky paste made of fermented red chiles. It is available at some asian food stores and at Korean markets. If it is unavailable in your area feel free to use this substitute with similar results:

1 tablespoon hot paprika (or can use 1 tablespoon Hungarian sweet paprika plus 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper)
5 teaspoons corn syrup (light or dark)
1 teaspoon miso paste (miso is fermented and will help approximate the flavor of the gochu jang, if you don't have it, you can omit)
1 mashed garlic clove
1 tablespoon water
Salt, to taste

*Gwen's note: I am not sure I agree with this. The taste of this stuff is really hard to define; I don't taste garlic at all and it's not listed on the ingredients. But MSG is! Yum!


1 On the stovetop, fill a medium large pot with water and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, prepare toppings and the sauce. Prepare the lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, carrots, asian pear, sesame leaves and radish sprouts. Set aside. Cut each hard boiled egg in half. Set aside.

2 In a small bowl, combine red pepper paste, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Stir to combine and set aside.

3 Once the water is boiling, add buckwheat, or other type, of noodle and cook according to package instructions, or about six minutes, until al dente. When noodles are finished cooking, pour into a collander and rinse with cold water and drain. To quickly cool your noodles you may also place a few ice cubes in the collander or place the drained noodles into the freezer for a short time, just don't forget them!

4 To serve, place cooled noodles in a medium sized bowl. Top with dressing and vegetables/fruit of your choice. Place one of the hard-boiled egg halves on top and a few radish sprouts.

1 comment:

hefk said...

would be so fun to make with a friend and chop all the mix-ins together.
I like how we all have our obsessions with various forms of red dye, chiles & MSG. Maybe our food blog tag line is "red hot"