Korean Cold Noodles Recipe

Korean Cold Noodles

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Not all noodles come in a piping hot broth! A summertime favourite in South Korea, Korean Cold Noodles are refreshing and the perfect way to stay cool and enjoy a delicious meal.

What are Korean Cold Noodles?

In Korean, they’re called naengmyeon (neng-myun) which literally translates to ‘cold noodles’. It’s, you guessed it, a cold noodle dish made with thin chewy potato starch noodles. There are other variations that use buckwheat or potato starch, seaweed and green tea to make the noodles.

Unsurprisingly, naengmyeon is most often consumed during the summer but historically, it was a dish that was enjoyed during winter as well.

Variations

There are 2 main varieties of naengmyeon. There is mul naengmyeon, which is considered the ‘regular’ cold noodles and bibim naengmyeon which is served with a spicy dressing made primarily from gochujang (red chilli paste).

Other types of naengmyeon are categorized by the type of broth and sauces but they’re also categorized by region. Like all cuisines, different regions of Korea will have their own special version of naengmyeon.

The garnishes and toppings will also change from restaurant to restaurant. A boiled egg, sliced cucumber and pickled radishes are the most common though. Cucumbers go super well with this dish because it is a cooling ingredient in nature. Learn more about the cooling benefits of cucumber here.

Other Types of Cold Noodles

Korea isn’t the only country with cold noodles for the summer. In China, there are spicy Sichuan cold noodles and in Japan, there are Soba Noodles.

There’s nothing quite like Korean cold noodles though. The dishes mentioned above don’t include a cold broth although there are some that do. There are cold versions of ramen but we can all agree that it tastes better when it’s served hot and fresh!

Naengmyeon is best served with your favourite Korean side dishes like kimchi, beansprout and fish cake. The sauces in this recipe are optional but highly recommended!

Don’t forget to check other summer recipes like Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls and Pork Belly Bao. Now let’s start this recipe!

Korean Cold Noodle Recipe

Not all noodles come in a piping hot broth! A summertime favourite in South Korea, Korean Cold Noodles are refreshing and the perfect way to stay cool and enjoy a delicious meal.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: cold noodles, Korean, naengmyeon, noodles, summer
Servings: 2

Ingredients

Beef Broth:

  • 14 cups water
  • ½ lb beef brisket
  • 6 oz Korean radish
  • ½ medium onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 1-inch round slices ginger
  • 2 large scallions, (white part)
  • ½ tsp peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp soup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt, to taste

Noodles:

  • 2 servings naengmyeon noodles
  • ½ cucumber
  • vinegar
  • hot mustard paste

Bibim Naengmyeon Sauce (Optional):

  • 4 tbsp ground chilli flakes, (gochugaru)
  • 4 tbsp beef broth or water
  • ½ Korean pear or apple
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • sesame oil, (to drizzle overtop of noodles)

Pickled Radish (Optional):

  • 1 lb Korean radish
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

Pickled Radish (Optional):

  • If you have decided to make the pickled radish, make it before the broth so that it has time to pickle.
  • Begin by cleaning and peeling the radish. Cut the radish in half lengthwise and then into 2 to 3-inch wide chunks. Place the cut side down and slice lengthwise thinly.
  • Mix the vinegar, sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and add more vinegar or sugar to taste if needed.
  • Put the sliced radish into a container and pour the vinegar mixture in. Cover and let it pickle until the noodles are ready.

Beef Broth:

  • Fill a large pot with 14 cups of water and bring it to a boil on high heat.
  • While waiting for the water to boil, prep the soup ingredients. Chop the onion in quarters, slice the scallion in half, cut the Korean radish into chunks and slice the ginger.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and add all the broth ingredients except the soy sauce, salt and sugar.
  • Keep the broth boiling at a medium boil until the meat becomes tender (about 1 hour) with the lid on. Occasionally check to skim off any scum.
  • 10 minutes before the broth is done, add in the soy sauce, sugar and add salt to taste if needed.
  • Once the broth is done, remove the meat to cool and discard the vegetables. Let it cool and then put it in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours until the broth becomes slushy.

Bibim Naengmyeon Sauce (Optional):

  • Mince the cloves of garlic and grate the Korean pear or apple.
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a bowl. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Noodles & Toppings:

  • Hard boil your eggs and then leave them in some cold water to cool down before peeling. Peel and cut into halves. Set aside.
  • Wash your cucumber and cut off both ends. Then cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Julienne the cucumber into thin strips and lightly sprinkle salt over them. Let them sit until the cucumber slices have wilted a little.
  • The beef should be cooled down now. Slice it thinly against the grain.
  • Now it’s time to cook the noodles. Boil a medium pot of water and prepare an ice bath while you wait for the water to boil. Follow the instructions on the noodle packaging. Drain the noodles and immediately rinse them in your ice water. Let the noodles sit in the ice bath until they’re icy cold.
  • Then, strain the noodles in a colander and separate them into serving bowls.
  • Add your pickled radish (if using), hard-boiled egg, cucumber and beef on top. Then ladle some of the cooled beef broth into your bowls of noodles.
  • Serve with bibim naengmyeon sauce on the noodles or on the side. Also, serve with vinegar and hot mustard paste on the side. Korean cold noodles are best enjoyed with Korean side dishes. Enjoy!

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