Korean Spicy Cold Noodles (Bibim Guksu)

Korean Spicy Cold Noodles (Bibim Guksu)
Korean for "mixed noodles," bibimguksu teams thin wheat noodles with a piquant, umami-rich gochujang sauce.Thomas Payne

In this refreshing cold noodle dish, thin wheat noodles called somyeon are tossed with a spicy-sweet gochujang sauce and topped with kimchi, cucumber, and a soft-boiled egg. The sauce should be made at least two days in advance to let the flavors of the aromatics meld. The recipe yields a large batch, about 1½ cups. Use the leftovers to make more bibimguksu later; the sauce can refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 3 months.

This recipe comes from chef Michael Kim of Maum in Palo Alto, CA.

Equipment

Korean Spicy Cold Noodles (Bibim Guksu)
Asian pear and a touch of sugar tame the heat of gochujang in this Korean cold noodle dish, while rice vinegar adds a satisfying tang.
Yield: serves 2 as an appetizer
Time: 24 hours, 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 strips (2 inches each) kombu (3 g)
  • ½ cup (5 g) katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped (1 Tbsp.)
  • ½ medium Asian pear, seeded and cored (2½ oz.)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced shallots (1½ oz.)
  • ½ cup gochujang (Korean red chile paste)
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. sugar
  • 1½ tsp. soy sauce
  • 1½ tsp. rice vinegar
  • 3 oz. somyeon (thin Korean wheat flour noodles), cooked according to package instructions and rinsed in cold water
  • ¼ English cucumber, cut into thin matchsticks (1/3 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp. thinly sliced store-bought or homemade kimchi
  • 1 soft-boiled egg, halved

Instructions

  1. In a small pot, add the kombu and ⅔ cup cold water. Bring to a boil, then stir in the katsuobushi and immediately turn off the heat. Set the dashi stock aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a liquid-measuring cup. Strain the dashi, pressing on the solids with the back of a spoon. Measure ½ cup dashi and reserve any remaining for another use.
  3. Purée the dashi, garlic, pear, and shallots in a blender until smooth. Add the gochujang, sesame oil, sugar, soy sauce, and rice vinegar, and pulse until combined. Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 days before using.
  4. In a medium bowl, add the noodles and 3 tablespoons sauce, or more to taste. Reserve remaining sauce for another use. Using tongs or a gloved hand, toss well to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the cucumber, kimchi, and egg. Serve immediately.