What is Naengmyeon?
Naengmyeon is a popular cold noodle dish in Korean cuisine and it features long, thinly stretched buckwheat noodles in a tangy broth. Naengmyeon literally translates into cold noodles in Korean. The dish stands out among other noodle soups due to its sweet and tangy flavor as well as the way it is served cold. In summertime, some naengmyeon restaurants even put frozen broth into the bowl so that it stays cold longer.
The origins of Naengmyeon come from north in the Korean Peninsula in cities like Pyongyang but the dish traveled throughout Korea after the Korean War. The long noodles are likened to the longevity of life and traditionally would be eaten without cutting but nowadays, bowls of naengmyeon come with scissors for cutting is need be.
Types of Naengmyeon
Mul Naengmyeon means water cold noodles and it is made from buckwheat noodles in a beef or pheasant based broth. It also uses a broth that contains dongchimi, or Korean radish which provides the refreshing side of the broth. Additionally, vinegar, sugar, and mustard oil is added into the broth to adjust it to one’s liking.
Bibim Naengmyeon means mixed cold noodle and is usually topped off with raw fish, a hot pepper paste sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. The toppings are all mixed in with the noodles for a dry noodle dish with a bright red color from the pepper paste.
Mul Naengmyeon Recipe
This recipe is a variation of how traditional mul naengmyeon is made. Due to the lack of dongchimi available at most American supermarkets, this is a good alternative to get a close end result!
- ½ pound beef for stews or braising
- ½ an onion, sliced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, sliced
- 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½ a Korean pear
- 2 stalks of scallion
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1½ teaspoon sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 10 oz of naengmyeon buckwheat noodles
- 2 eggs, boiled
- 1 cucumber, julienned
- White vinegar
- Mustard oil
- Sesame seeds
- Bring 3 to 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot
- Add in the beef, ginger, scallion, onion, and garlic and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Skim off the top scum and discard.
- Simmer for another hour on low heat until the meat is fully cooked.
- Add in the soy sauce, sugar, and salt. Crush the Korean pear and add in the juice, discard the solids.
- Remove the meat to add back into the dish later. Discard the other solids in the broth.
- Place the broth into the freezer for 3 to 4 hours–or until the broth is slushy.
- Once you are ready to eat, prepare the noodles by boiling them for 3-5 minutes until soft.
- Drain the noodles and place into a large bowl along with some slices of the previously cooked beef.
- Pour the slushy cold broth over the noodles and top it off with sliced cucumbers, half-cut boiled eggs, and sesame seeds. It is now ready to eat!
- Add vinegar and mustard oil to taste.