Korean Food: Mul Naeng Myun (Cold Noodles)
Naeng myun is a Korean cold noodle dish made of thin, slightly chewy buckwheat noodles topped with egg, meat (optional), vegetables, and a savory, vinegary ice-cold broth. Literally with ice cubes in it. That’s how I roll with my Naeng Myun. This Korean dish is perfect in the summer when it’s hot. We hit the hottest weather here in Seattle for this year, 90 degrees yesterday, so it was definitely time for some mul naeng myun. This is one of my favorite Korean foods.
It’s a Korean dish, so you know there’s a spicy version of this! Bibim Naeng Myun is served in a hot and spicy sauce without much soup broth at all. Check out this video from Maangchi where she shows you how to make both Mul Naengmyun and Bibim Naengmyun. My recipe is different . . consider my recipe the “quick, I don’t have time to make my own homemade broth and I’m really hungry” version. Sad, but true. Also, if you’re about to tear your hair out, you’re so hungry and need some mul naeng myun fast- most Korean grocery stores carry the instant soup base in ready made packages. Yeah, you heard me. Seriously. And they are not bad tasting at all. See the photo below.
Also, traditionally, Koreans put radish, cucumbers, Asian pears and some type of meat in this dish, topped with a hard boiled egg. It’s perfection. Remember I was in a hurry and extremely hungry so not only did I make the “quick, I don’t have time to make my own homemade broth and I’m hungry” version but I also made the Hip Foodie Mom’s poor man’s version with very minimal toppings. I needed my fix so got by with cucumbers and an egg but definitely need the radish and pears next time.
So, whether you’re up for making your own broth, want to try this recipe or want to just buy the ready made broth, a bowl of Naeng Myun is calling your name. Hope you enjoy this one before the summer is over!
Almost Instant Mul Naengmyun (Korean Cold Noodles)
Adapted from this recipe on About.com
serves 2 people:
- ¼ lb Naengyun Noodles (thin noodles made from buckwheat and sweet potato; make sure you’re not buying soba or memil gooksu; see photo below)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups beef broth, unsalted
- 2-3 Tbsps brown rice vinegar
- 1 egg, hard-boiled and sliced in half
- ½ Korean cucumber or an english cucumber, seeded and julienned
- ¼ cup pickled radish (optional)
- Cooked brisket or beef shank, thinly sliced (optional; I opted to keep mine vegetarian)
- 1 small Asian pear, julienned or cut into thin slices
- To Serve: ice cubes, vinegar, sugar, sesame seeds and Korean hot mustard (mustard is optional, but recommended if you want some spice!)
- Mix the cooled chicken and beef broths together with vinegar.*
- Add more salt or vinegar to taste.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes if possible.
- Cook noodles according to package directions, about 4-5 minutes in boiling water.
- Drain noodles and rinse well in cold water to stop cooking and eliminate some excess starch.
- To serve: Distribute noodles into bowls, pour a generous amount of chilled broth and a few ice cubes to cover almost of all of noodles. Place the cucumbers, pear slices, and pickled radish on top of the noodles and then top everything with the hard-boiled egg.
*You can use store-bought or homemade beef broth if you’re adding meat.
If you don’t have an Asian pear, you can use bosc pears. If you don’t have any pears, you can use crunchy apples. If you don’t have any fruit, don’t worry about it. I personally like adding the vinegar to mine and care less for the slight sweetness.
For another great Mul Naeng Myun recipe adapted from “Korean Cooking for Everyone” by Ji Sook Choe and Yukiko Moriyama, check out this link.