As most of you know, I was in Dallas last week spending time with friends and family. . particularly my mother, who is having a kidney transplant today. And my sister, Grace, is the donor. Today, my mother and sister are going through a surgery that will change their lives. The two most important women in my life are in the hospital, lying on an operation table.
My sister’s selflessness, love, courage and strength is unbelievable. She amazes me.
While I was in Dallas, the high was 104 at one point, maybe 106 but felt more like 110 degrees. So, it was hot to say the least. For us, that immediately means making Naeng Myun or cold noodles. Naeng myun is a Korean cold noodle dish made of thin, slightly chewy buckwheat noodles that is typically topped with an egg, sliced meat and vegetables, in a savory, vinegary ice-cold broth. This type is called Mul Naeng Myun and is especially enjoyed on hot, summer days.
My mom and I were cooking in the kitchen. Standing side by side. This time, as I do all the time now, I was attentively listening and doing everything she told me to do. When I was younger, I never wanted to learn how to make Korean food. Today, my mom tells me to stop buying the dry naeng myun noodles and to buy the frozen kind instead.
“They taste much better” she said. So much so, she went to a completely different Korean market to make sure she could get the frozen noodles. And today, we had a chance to make – a version- of my aunt’s Bibim sauce, so Bibim Naeng Myun it was! And don’t worry, it’s cold so you can still slurp up some delicious noodles. Maybe it was the heat from that hot, summer day last week but we didn’t make the noodles extremely spicy– you can add as much bibim sauce as you want- we/I opted for medium to mild heat.
So, I wanted to share this recipe with you all today. . this recipe that my mom and I made together. . and ask that you pray and send positive thoughts to my mother and sister today and that the transplant surgery goes well.
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
Here are the noodles. Do my mom proud and try the frozen ones.
When you take them out of the package, they will be shaped in bundles. You simply remove from the package and allow the noodles to thaw.
Then, you will need to loosen up all the noodles so that when you boil them, they don’t stick together.
If you’ve never made Bibim Naeng Myun before on your own, you’re in for a treat. Most people who like this dish, prefer it a certain way; really spicy or the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. There are also various ways of making this dish. My mom likes to add a little of mul naeng myun broth/soup to the bowl at the end – right before serving- to mix in together with everything. This step can be skipped and the mul naeng myun broth/soup omitted. As you become more familiar with this recipe, you will soon be making your own version of Bibim Naeng Myun- just the way you like it!
I hope you enjoy.
Bibim Naeng Myun (Spicy Cold Noodles)
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup blended Fuji apple
- 1/4 cup blended pear
- barely 1/4 cup blended onion
- ½ cup water
- 1/4 cup crushed hot pepper gochugaru
- 2 tablespoons hot pepper paste gochujang + more if you want it spicier
- 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
- 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
For the Naeng Myun:
- 16 oz package frozen naeng myun buckwheat noodles
- thinly sliced cucumbers use a mandolin slicer
- thinly sliced kimchi
- 1-2 packages instant mul naeng myun broth/soup purchase this at the Korean market. *see note below
- sesame oil
- brown rice vinegar
- 2 hard boiled eggs; cut in half lengthwise
- sesame seeds
- Blend together all of your ingredients (EXCEPT the sesame seed oil, brown rice vinegar and honey) either in a food processor or blender. Pour out into a container and let sit/marinate in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
- Remove the frozen noodles from the package and let sit to thaw out. This should only take an hour or so. Once the noodles are completely defrosted, separate them to ensure they do not stick together when cooking.
- Prepare/slice the cucumbers and kimchi. Set aside.
- Boil the noodles according to package directions; usually only 4 minutes or so. During the last minute of cooking, prepare an ice bath for the noodles. Drain the noodles and wash them thoroughly and transfer to an ice bath so the noodles stop cooking. Set aside.
- Remove the bibim sauce from refrigerator and mix in (by hand) the sesame seed oil, brown rice vinegar and honey.
- Combine and mix the noodles and the bibim sauce together in a big bowl. I usually wear plastic gloves and do this by hand. (Alternatively, you can serve the noodles and a dollop of bibim sauce into each bowl and have each person mix separately.)
- Portion out the noodles into each serving bowl, pour in a little of the cold instant mul naeng myun soup/broth (*only if desired), top with the cucumbers and kimchi. Lightly drizzle on a touch of sesame seed oil, brown rice vinegar if desired, and top with a hard boiled egg and sprinkle on some sesame seeds. Enjoy!!