July 7, 2012

Nengmyun (Cold Buckwheat Soup)

Nengmyun is a cold Korean noodle soup.
Now, it might be slightly weird sounding when I say cold soup
especially a cold noodle soup but this broth literally gets ice in it.

Nengmyun is especially good to eat on a hot summer day.
It's not too difficult to make as well.

The noodles are often made of buckwheat but can be found in potato and
arrow root these days as well as seaweed and even green tea flavor.
They are very wire-like and extremely stiff before cooking.

Once you boil them they will get waaay more pliable and soft.
They are very chewy but that's the fun and number 1 characteristic of Nengmyun. 
The long and chewiness of the noodles. Traditionally,
the noodles were eaten long and not cut to symbolize good health and long life.
These days people often cut the noodles with kitchen food scissors. 
(Please don't use the scissors in your garage!)

After boiling the noodles, you can taste a noodle or 2 and once they are soft, they are done.
Nengmyun noodles are often wrapped around your hand to make bunches that stay as
clever bunches because of the starch. 

The broth is a beef broth.  You can get any kind of beef chuck
and typically because chuck has a little more fat in it 
so the juices of the beef really make this broth tasty.
I like to add a drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil. (about 1 TBSP)


Once the broth has been vigorously boiling for a minimum of 30+ minutes ---
You can take that beef chuck and slice it into long strips or flat pieces 
and drizzle a little soy sauce, and some hot pepper flake/powder. 
You can add some chives or scallions also if you'd like.
As far as the broth, take it off the stove, put it into a large bowl and 
add a dozen ice cubes to chill it.

You also want some type of pickled veggie. Typically, a pickled cucumber and 
radish go into Nengmyun. They are usually separate but I decided to julienne the 
2 and combine them. I used a mandoline for the cucumber and radish.  
I then added a drizzle of rice vinegar and more hot pepper flakes and a sprinkle 
of salt and a teaspoon of sugar)

Closeup it even looks better. Doesn't it? Hello... anyone there?

Nengmyun is also always topped with a hard boiled egg.

Add your mound of noodles, top with the cucumber/radish, add the beef, 
hard boiled egg and then ladle in your chilled broth. 
This chilled noodle dish is quite refreshing on a hot summer day
but it's actually really good all year round. 
ENJOY your Nengmyun with chopsticks!