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Naengmyeon Noodles Go Nuts

Naengmyeon Noodles Go Nuts

Naengmyeon Noodles Go Nuts

Chilled Delight: Exploring the Joys of Naengmyeon

I remember the first time I tried naengmyeon, those delightfully chewy, ice-cold buckwheat noodles that had me hooked from the very first bite. It was a scorching summer day in Seoul, and the overwhelming feeling of relief I experienced after taking that initial slurp was nothing short of pure bliss. Even now, the mere thought of those sweet, crunchy, and tangy elements coming together in perfect harmony to create a refreshing and addictive dish has me craving for more.

You see, there are two main varieties of naengmyeon – one served in a chilled broth, and the other, which is the focus of our adventure today, topped with a spicy sauce. Both versions are equally captivating, but for me, the spicy kind, known as bibim naengmyeon, holds a special place in my heart. My husband, Joe, is also a big fan of this version, and I figured it was about time I learned to make it at home so he could indulge in his favorite dish whenever the craving struck.

The Art of Bibim Naengmyeon

Now, the key to a truly outstanding bibim naengmyeon lies in the toppings. Traditionally, you’ll find sliced beef brisket, cucumber, Asian pear or pickled radish, and a perfectly boiled egg adorning this chilled delight. But me being the greedy gal that I am, I insist on having both the pear and the radish – the variety in crunchy textures and juicy flavors is just too good to pass up.

As I prepare this dish, I can’t help but marvel at how well everything comes together, creating a hearty and satisfying meal despite its chilled nature. And with the weather finally starting to warm up around here in Chicago (seriously, this has been the longest winter ever – I’m convinced we’re going to skip right through spring and be hit with summer), I knew it was the perfect time to share this recipe with you.

Chef Julie Yoon’s insights on the spicy sauce have been invaluable in my quest for naengmyeon perfection. She notes that it’s best to make the sauce in advance, as the flavors meld together and become richer and more complex as it sits in the fridge. But don’t worry, even if you make everything on the same day, it’ll still be an absolute delight.

Mastering the Noodles

One of the most unique features of naengmyeon noodles is their incredible chewiness and elasticity. You have to be really careful not to overcook them, or they’ll lose that signature bite. And timing is everything – don’t cook them too far in advance, as they tend to congeal into an unappetizing blob by the time you’re ready to serve.

As a food blogger, I’ve definitely encountered this challenge firsthand. By the time we finished taking all the photos for this dish, our noodles had turned into a tangled mess. But with a bit of coaxing and poking with our trusty chopsticks, we were able to loosen them up, and they still tasted absolutely divine.

Chef Yoon’s advice on using kitchen scissors to cut the noodles has been a game-changer, too. Even at restaurants, the servers will often ask if you’d like your noodles cut, and then they’ll use the scissors to snip through the strands in one swift motion. It makes it so much easier to coat each and every piece with that irresistible spicy-sweet-sour sauce.

The Toppings: A Symphony of Flavors

Now, the most time-consuming part of this recipe is boiling the beef brisket, but trust me, it’s well worth the effort. Not only does the tender beef add incredible flavor to the dish, but the resulting broth also gets incorporated into the sauce, taking it to new heights of deliciousness.

But my absolute favorite part of this recipe (and Joe’s, too) has got to be the sweet and sour pickled radish. It’s crunchy, bursting with flavor, and adds so much dimension to the overall dish in terms of both texture and taste. I consider it a key element, and the good news is that it’s super easy to make too, thanks to the quick pickling process.

Maangchi’s recipe for bibim naengmyeon has also been an invaluable resource, providing helpful tips and tricks to ensure the perfect balance of flavors. And the Stella ‘n Spice blog has some gorgeous photos that have left me drooling and eager to try their version.

As for the Asian pear, it’s a bit harder to come by sometimes, even though it’s gaining more and more popularity in regular grocery stores. But trust me, it’s worth the hunt, as its watery, crisp, and sweet essence adds that perfect finishing touch to make this dish truly refreshing. If you can’t find it, a Bosc pear can work as a substitute, but it won’t be quite the same.

Plating and Presentation

I just love taking the time to plate this dish nicely, even though in the end, it’s all going to turn into one glorious, messy affair. I like to fan out the ingredients in a circular pattern, so it looks gorgeous from every angle – even the “booty side,” as I like to call it.

And if you’re worried about the spice level, don’t fret! You can always start with less sauce and gradually add more to find your perfect balance. Likewise, if you’re a spice lover like my husband, be warned that there’s a slow burn that starts off mild and then gradually builds up as you keep eating. I’ve seen Joe wave his white flag more than once, but don’t let that scare you away – the savory, sweet, and sour notes make this dish simply irresistible.

So, when it’s too hot outside to even think, make sure you have a package of naengmyeon noodles in your pantry, because this is going to be your go-to recipe all summer long. Trust me, once you’ve tasted the magic of bibim naengmyeon, you’ll be hooked for life.

Fruit and Sup’s recipe for a pink version of naengmyeon with homemade beef broth also sounds like a delightful twist that I can’t wait to try. And The New York Times’ take on chilled noodles has me intrigued as well.

So, are you ready to join me on this chilled noodle adventure? Grab your chopsticks, and let’s dive into the world of naengmyeon noodles that will have your taste buds dancing with delight!