Spicy chilled Korean noodles with vegetables
Fall may be upon us but my craving for Asian chilled noodles never ceases. Even on the coldest day of winter you can find me eating a bowl of zaru soba or anything made with sweet potato noodles. Clear and thicker than soba noodles, they are a popular staple in Korean cooking. One of my favorite presentations (aside from japchae) are these chilled Korean noodles served with a spicy gochujang sauce and topped with colorful veggies. It’s surprisingly refreshing despite the obvious kick of heat coming from the fiery red sauce!
I love the combination of slippery cold noodles and crunchy veggies – so healthy and satisfying! This recipe also doesn’t cost much to make; a big bag of sweet potato noodles will cost about $7 and last 4-6 meals and you can use any type of veggies for this. Hot pepper paste (gochujang) is also inexpensive, costing around $5 for a big tub. The rest is pretty standard: fish sauce, rice vinegar and soy. With ingredients like these sitting in your pantry, there’s a lot of flavor and texture combinations you can achieve. I’ll mix Thai, Korean and Japanese together sometimes and pull switcheroos with noodles if say, I run out of a particular popular one.
Once you’re familiar with basic Asian flavor combinations, the door to innovative cooking will swing right opened. Not only will you be able to mix Japanese and Vietnamese, you’ll cross continents and begin incorporating Asian flavors into American and European dishes (like this Japanese-French clam chowder). The options truly are endless and cooking becomes experimental and exciting.
Chilled Korean noodles are wonderful on their own if you are on a diet or feel like having something light for dinner. I usually serve this as a main accompanied with other Korean classics such as jijimi (Korean pancakes) and cucumber kimchi.