Mool Naeng Myun Recipe
- One package of buckwheat noodles from a Korean grocery store - ask for naeng myun - the list of ingredients may read "buckwheat noodles" or may include a few other ingredients like "sweet potato starch," "wheat," and "salt."
- One carton of organic chicken or organic beef broth
- Sea salt
- Vinegar (brown rice vinegar is best, white vinegar will do)
- One cucumber, peeled, seeded with a spoon, then sliced into thin strips about 2 inches long
- One Asian pear, peeled and thinly sliced
- Soft boiled egg - one for each person
Traditionally, the broth for mool naeng myun is made with about 1/3 beef broth, 1/3 chicken broth, and 1/3 kim chi brine. But because few people have easy access to all three components, most Koreans use just beef broth or chicken broth.
Pour organic chicken or beef broth into a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar, stir gently, and taste. Imagine drinking this broth while eating chewy buckwheat noodles and add more vinegar if you prefer more tang. This is the step that requires a previous encounter with well made mool naeng myun. Add a small amount of sea salt, to taste. If you have at least an hour before mealtime, put this bowl of broth in the refrigerator to chill.
Put buckwheat noodles into a large pot of boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes. They should be taken out as soon as they are al dente - chewy and not too soft. At this point, put noodles in a large colander and rinse two to three times with cold water. Allow noodles to rest in the colander for a few minutes or until excess water has been drained.
To serve, place a large handful of noodles in a large eating bowl. Add a small bunch of cucumber strips, a few pear slices, and one soft boiled egg (cut in half right before serving) to the bowl. Then use a ladle to add a generous amount of cold and tangy broth to the bowl, enough to cover about 75 percent of the ingredients.
Right before eating, feel free to use scissors to cut the noodles a few times to allow for more convenient mouthfuls.
With each mouthful of noodles, vegetables, and egg, bring the bowl right up to your mouth and take a sip of the cold and tangy broth. Enjoy this traditional Korean summertime dish!
Note: if you don't have the time to chill the broth in the refrigerator for an hour before serving, place a few ice cubes in each person's bowl to chill while eating. Also, traditional mool naeng myun comes with a few strips of beef, so if you don't eat beef, be sure to mention this when you order it at a restaurant.