I haven’t even finished posting recipes for food I cooked during the last heatwave, and DC is already in the grip of a new one. Yesterday, it reached 100 degrees for the sixth time this year, and we may very well have the seventh time today. This, after only having five 100-degree days in 2011 and four in 2010 – and 17 total in the entirety of 1993 to 2009. Weather, like food, is something I feel passionately nerdy about. And they go all so well together. Even in this time of air conditioning, I find myself gravitating towards weather-appropriate recipes. Although this recipe does involve using (a single burner on) the stove for the noodles, these refreshing cold noodles and vegetables, tossed in an amazingly flavorful sauce is another perfect dish for hot days. And in addition to being delicious, this plate packs a powerful visual punch. The vegetables are easily adaptable to whatever you happen to have around, and you can even omit the noodles, if you want – I had a simple meal of broccoli in this sauce one night, and it was still delicious. The original recipe calls for the Korean herb perilla, but I wasn’t able to find any (and admittedly, in this heat, I didn’t feel like exerting myself much in searching), and it was just fine without it. If you can find it, feel free to add it in. Hopefully, this recipe can help you stay nice and cool, however you decide to adapt it.
Korean Cold Noodles and Vegetables (adapted from Eating and Living)
Yield: 3 – 4 servings
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce*
- 3 Tbsp orange juice
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru)**
- 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp hot mustard powder (gyeoja), mixed with 2 tsp water***
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- pinch pepper
- 8 ounces buckwheat (soba) noodles
- 3 – 4 red cabbage leaves, thinly sliced
- 3 – 4 leaves kale or other green, thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 1 red bell pepper, julienned
- 2 – 3 ounces bean sprouts
- 2 – 3 scallions, green parts, thinly sliced
*As always, using a good-quality soy sauce is best – personally, I like Kimlan “Super Special” soy sauce – but you can also do okay with the low-sodium version of a more ubiquitous brand, such as Kikkoman.
**You should be okay substituting other red pepper flakes.
***I used S&B hot mustard powder, but if you can’t find hot mustard powder, feel free to simply omit it.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp orange juice, 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp sesame oil, 1 Tbsp Korean red chili pepper flakes (gochugaru), 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp hot mustard powder (gyeoja), mixed with 2 tsp water, 1 small clove garlic, minced, and pinch pepper. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Cook 8 ounces buckwheat (soba) noodles according to package directions. Drain, and rinse with cold water until the noodles are very cold.
- On a large platter, arrange 3 – 4 red cabbage leaves, thinly sliced, 3 – 4 leaves kale or other green, thinly sliced, 1 cucumber, julienned, 1 carrot, julienned, 1 red bell pepper, julienned, and 2 – 3 ounces bean sprouts, then place the noodles in the middle, and top with 2 – 3 scallions, green parts, thinly sliced.
- Serve with the sauce on the side so that people can take exactly what they want and combine themselves. Alternatively, toss everything together, then serve.