korean bbq is a way of life where i go to school. check snapchat on any given day, and you'll see someone cooking well-marbled ribbons of meat on a table laden with tons of side dishes (or you'll see people at disneyland for the 16th time this month). even for someone who doesn’t love the taste of meat, it’s paradise. there’s caramelized meat, tons of veggies by way of the banchan (aka the side dishes), tender rice paper, nearly transparent slices of pickled daikon radish and chewy japchae (sesame-rich sweet potato noodles).
this kimchi cucumber naengmyeon is inspired by my love for korean food. mul naengmyeon is cold noodle soup with an icy cold (literally; sometimes there’s ice in your bowl), vinegary beef broth. bibim naengmyeon is cold noodles tossed in a fiery, both in color and spice level, sauce. i first tried these one during summer vacation at mo ran gak, though that's one of the few kbbq places i've been to (of the wide range of places i've sampled from throughout the bay area and la/oc) that serves naengmyeon. anyways, both mul naengmyeon and bibim naengmyeon are perfect for summer. this kimchi cucumber naengmyeon is a combo of the two, with a spicy sauce that is looser and more liquidy than the typical bibim naengmyeon sauce is. and i’ve subbed in ribbons of cucumber for the usual buckwheat noodles.
given the similarity between this kimchi cucumber naengmyeon and the usual naengmyeons, you might think i came up with this one after an enlightening korean meal. nope. try a stats discussion 2+ years ago, upon which it ended up languishing in my (too long) ideas doc for days (years, really). and you thought lower div stats wasn't useful.
anyways. the sauce here is less red than yours might be; it mostly depends on what color your tomato is (when i was photographing this, i had some amazing orange tomatoes), and how red your kimchi is. and another thing: your tomato doesn’t need to be a perfect summer heirloom specimen. it’s just there for some juiciness. you can always add sugar at the end if you find the sauce too sharp tasting. and don’t worry if the final dish is a little watery! that broth/juice is clean and refreshing tasting, and is perfectly delicious (not gorgeous).
the pictures here feature the kimchi cucumber naengmyeon topped with furikake, hard-boiled egg, pickled daikon and more tomatoes. i've also had it with sugar snap peas and pickled daikon. but it'd also be delicious with watermelon, pear (apple pear or anything crunchy/firm), other pickled veggies (quick pickled carrots or cucumbers!), bulgogi, kamaboko, salmon, tofu, grilled chicken, shrimp, etc. endless combos (:
- 1 medium tomato halved
- 1/2 small apple, pear, apple pear or anything sweet and juicy cored and quartered
- kimchi to taste; 1 T - 1/4 cup
- 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 T soy sauce
- 1 English cucumber peeled into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
- 1 hard-boiled egg halved
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced pickled daikon
Blend half of the tomato, the apple/pear/apple pear, kimchi, fish sauce, sesame oil and soy sauce until smooth.
Combine the dressing and cucumber, then top with the egg, daikon and remaining tomato (chopped). You can serve it with other kinds of protein, add watermelon and furikake, or whatever floats your boat.
If you want a totally smooth sauce, peel the tomato and apple/pear before blending.
You can buy pickled daikon at a Japanese, Chinese or Korean market, you can quick pickle your own. Combine a couple of splashes of white vinegar with sugar and salt, then toss in thinly sliced daikon. Toss occasionally, and you'll have quick pickled daikon in 15-20 minutes!