North Korean Naengmyun (pronounced Nang-myun) is an amazing cold noodle dish. The noodles are typically made of buckwheat along with other flour like sweet potato, arrowroot, seaweed or potato starch. They are long and thin and have a wonderful chewy consistency that works especially well served cold.
The noodles served long are supposed to represent a long life. Naengmyun originated in North Korea and is surprisingly enjoyed in winter. The rest of the world enjoys this dish in the heat of summer. Whatever season, it is a lovely dish. The combination of flavors between the noodle, broth, egg, Asian pear and cucumber is perfect.
The stock is made with mushrooms, dried kelp and anchovies resulting in a wonderful umami flavored broth. As with all Korean food it should be served with some kimchi ( a fermented spicy radish or cabbage) that is ubiquitous there.
Please let me know in the comments below what your favorite cold noodle dish is and especially if you made North Korean Naengmyun if you loved it as much as I did.
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North Korean Naengmyun (Cold Noodles)
- 1 package of buckwheat noodles
- 8 cups water
- 4 shiitake mushrooms
- 4 inch piece of dried kelp
- 10 dried anchovies head and intestines removed
- 1 Tablespoon mustard powder
- 2 cucumbers sliced thinly
- rice vinegar
- 1 Asian pear
- 2 hard-boiled eggs sliced thinly or in quarters
- young summer radish kimchi
- Make stock for naengmyeon:
- Boil 8 cups of water with 4 shiitake mushrooms, a 4 inch piece of dried kelp, and 10 dried anchovies with the heads and the intestines removed for 20 minutes over high heat.
- Lower the heat to low and simmer another 20 minutes.
- Cool it down and keep it in the refrigerator.
- Prepare toppings:
- Mustard paste:
- 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 2 cucumbers into thin strips. Add a ½ pinch of salt, ½ teaspoon of sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vinegar. Mix it up and and set it aside.
- Slice 1 Asian pear into thin strips. You can use either Korean pear or bosc pear. Soak it in water and add ½ teaspoon sugar. Set it aside.
- Slice the hard-boiled eggs into quarters or slices
- Make the noodles:
- Put a 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.
- Drain the noodles in a colander.
- Put it all together:
- For each serving you need to make, mix 2 cups of stock in a bowl with 2 teaspoons vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Add more vinegar to taste. Add a few 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. You can garnish with some radish sprouts. You can also serve with some red pepper paste on the side.