Naengmyeon means “cold noodles” in English, and refers to a Korean dish made of long, thin noodles and served cold. It’s very popular in Korea all year ’round but especially in summertime, because it’s so cold and refreshing. The noodles often have some buckwheat in them, but can also be made with the flour or starch of potatoes, sweet potatoes, arrowroot, kudzu, seaweed or green tea.
There are 2 main varieties: mul-naengmyeon, which is served in an icy cold broth made from beef, chicken or dongchimi, and bibim-naengmyeon, which is served in a spicy sauce instead of a broth. This recipe is for mul-naengmyeon, and here’s the recipe for bibim-naengmyeon, the other dish in the video. Due to the background music in the video, the sound has been removed, but I will remake the video soon, I promise!
Naengmyeon is my favorite food. I love the texture of the chewy noodles. After eating icy cold noodles on a hot summer day, you will feel your body temperature cool right down.
Ingredients (for 2 servings):
- ½ package of buckwheat noodles
- shiitake mushrooms
- dried anchovies
- mustard powder
- young summer radish kimchi
A package of Korean buckwheat noodles usually comes with soup powder packet. If you want to make a quick broth, you can simply mix the soup powder with cold water. If you want to make homemade stock, this is how I do it.
Make stock for mul-naengmyeon:
- Boil 8 cups of water with 3-4 shiitake mushrooms, a 4 inch piece of dried kelp, and 8-10 dried anchovies with the heads and the intestines removed for 20 minutes over hight heat.
- Lower the heat to low and cook another 20 minutes. Cool it down and keep it in the refrigerator.
- Mustard paste (optional):
Mix 1 tbs of mustard powder and ½ tbs water. Put it in a warm place to ferment it for 5 minutes. Set aside.
Slice ½ cup’s worth of cucumber into thin strips. Add a ½ pinch of salt, ½ ts of sugar, and ½ ts of vinegar. Mix it up and and set it aside.
Slice ½ cup’s worth into thin strips. You can use either Korean pear or bosc pear. Soak it in water and add ½ ts sugar so it doesn’t change color. Set it aside.
Hardboil an egg, cut it in half, and set it aside.
Make the noodles:
- Put a half package of buckwheat noodles into a big pot of boiling water. Stir them with a wooden spoon so that the noodles don’t stick to each other. Keep boiling for about 3-5 minutes until cooked.
- When the noodles are cooked, move the pot to the sink and pour cold water over them. Drain some of the water out and pour more cold water over them again. This will help the noodles get chewier.
- Rinse and drain the noodles a couple of times until not slippery. Put the noodles into a basket or colander.
Put it all together:
- For each serving you need to make, mix 2 cups of stock in a bowl with 2 ts vinegar, 1 ts salt, and 2 ts sugar. Add more vinegar to taste. Add 5-7 ice cubes to make it even colder.
- Place noodles in a bowl and add the cold broth, cucumber, pear, mustard paste, and egg on top. Serve cold. If you have kimchi juice or young summer radish kimchi, add some to the noodle soup. It will taste even better!