All summer long I’ve been craving one thing and one thing only, Naengmyeon. Naengmyeon is an incredibly popular summer time dish here that consists of starchy buck wheat noodles that are served in a mild vinegary soup with a boiled egg on top. Other than ice cream, ice cold noodles are the only thing to help you cool off in the sweat box that is Seoul during July & August. I was planning on going to a restaurant to get myself a bowl when I realized that it would be easy enough to give them a go myself.
After a quick look in the supermarket I found the noodles, and even the stock, but after tasting the stock I found it way too fishy for my tastes so just made my own instead. There are several different types of these ice cold noodles, including a spicy version with gochu paste (chili) that TFB loves, but I went for the vinegary slightly sweet style. My recipe certainly isn’t traditional as I’ve switched things up to suit my own tastes and to sue what I had in the kitchen, but they sure were tasty and refreshing and I will definitely be making them again soon.
350g of naengmyeon noodles (1 pack)
1 stock cube
200mls of boiling water
600mls of ice cold water
4-6 tablespoons of apple vinegar
4 tablespoons of sugar
A large pinch of salt
2 eggs (soft or hard boiled)
1/2 a cucumber
1/2 an apple
1 red chili
3 spring onions
A handful of ice cubes
1. The first thing you need to do is boil your eggs. The method I always use is from hack I found online. Put your eggs into cold water and put them on a medium heat. When they start to boil add the saucepan lid and start a timer for 6 minutes. When the 6 minutes are done plunge them into cold water. Then peel the shell after ten minutes once they have cooled. This should leave you with a lovely fluffy yellow yolk. If you do them for 5 minutes the yolk will be slightly runny.
2. To make the noodles you can follow the directions on the packet. Mine said to place the noodles in boiling water for 50 seconds but I found this wasn’t long enough and did mine for 2 minutes, just until they start to break apart from the group. Strain the noodles then plunge into cold water. You can leave your noodles in the water while you make the soup.
3. To make the soup use the boiling water to dissolve your stock cube, then top with the cold water and give it a good stir. Add your sugar and vinegar to the stock and season to taste.
4. Slice your cucumbers and apple into thin strips. I used a cheap vegetable slicer I bought in Daiso years ago, and it really gives a much more professional look. Then chop your chili and spring onions with a pair of scissors.
5. To assemble, strain your noodles and put into deep or large bowls, top with the cucumber, apple, and egg. Then sprinkle with your chilies and spring onions. Finally pour your soup around the edge and add a handful of ice cubes to keep it nice and cool.