Summer is here in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S…And it is HOT. And steamy. Humid to the point where I experience what the Japanese call “Natsu-bate” or summer fatigue. My symptoms include tiredness, lack of sleep, and a loss of appetite. On top of that, I have been at war with a mockingbird who has taken residence in a tree near my bedroom window. It serenades my street at 3 AM every night, forlorn I suppose. Must buy ear plugs!
On that note, today’s recipe features something that will help you stay cool this summer. Not much I can do to help with any mockingbirds, unfortunately.
During the summer months, I prefer to avoid using heat to cook my meals as often as I can. I tend to survive on fresh chilled fruits, salads, and cold soups like Gazpacho. Noodles are the exception, however. I’ve been raised with the notion that eating hot foods in the heat can help cool the body down. It certainly works for me. On the other hand, there are cold noodle dishes that I grew up with like soba (buckwheat) and somen (wheat) noodles that I enjoy just as much.
I love to eat Korean food during the summer months too, like Jjolmyeon. I’m not Korean in the slightest, but I will be forever obsessed with Korean cuisine for as long as I live. Jjolmyeon is a spicy, refreshing, cold noodle dish that is topped with lots of crunchy vegetables and a thick sauce made out of Korean hot pepper paste called Gochujang.
My friend Justina (Heejung) told me it was one of her all-time favorite meals to eat in the summer time. She recently left Maryland to live with her fiance in New Mexico. Justina, thanks for being such a great friend and putting in a request for my blog. I miss you, am wishing you well, and hope you’ll enjoy my version of Jjolmyeon. See you soon!
The Sprightly Kitchen’s Jjolmyeon (Serves 2)
- 20 g (or about 1) green onion
- 50 g (or about ½ c) of red cabbage
- 50 g (or about ½ c) of carrots
- 50 g (or about ½ c) of cucumber
- 50 g (or about ½ c) of daikon radish
- 50 g (or about 1 c) of mung bean sprouts, blanched
- 2 teaspoons (or about 2-3 g) of toasted sesame seeds
- 1 hard-boiled egg (optional)
- 45-50 g (or about ¼ cup) of Gochujang
- 1 tsp (or about 2-5 g) of garlic powder or 1 clove of minced garlic
- 15ml (or 1 tbs) of sesame oil
- 15 ml (or 1 tbs) of toasted sesame seeds
- 30 ml (or 2 tbs) of apple cider vinegar, lemon, or lime juice
- 10 g (or 2 tsp) of sugar
- 2 servings of Jjollmyun noodles
Rinse and clean the vegetables, except the blanched mung bean sprouts. Peel the skins off of the carrot and daikon, and trim the root off the green onion before you start chopping. Julienne (or cut into thin matchstick-size pieces) the vegetables, except the mung bean sprouts. Set aside. Cut the boiled egg in half. Put the vegetables and egg in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
To make the sauce, combine all ingredients and stir. You’ll see something like this:
Adjust the amount of seasonings and quantity of the sauce to your liking. Chill in the refrigerator to until you are ready to arrange the bowl of noodles.
When cooking the noodles, follow the package directions. Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water. Adding ice while rinsing the noodles will make them firmer.
To serve the noodles, put each serving of the drained noodles in separate bowls. Top each bowl of noodles with the chopped veggies. Then, pour some sauce in the center of the vegetables, and top it with half of egg. Sprinkle on toasted sesames for added crunch and nuttiness. Enjoy!
To enjoy this dish, mix everything together before you eat it. You may want to add some Kimchi brine or a cold soup stock to prevent the noodles from sticking. I used a soup mix that I purchased at a Korean grocery store:
This dish is both vegetarian and vegan-friendly if you eat it without the egg.
Cooking the noodles last and immediately before serving them will prevent them from getting soggy.
At Asian (moreso Korean) grocery stores, you’ll find that Jjolmyeon is available in its dried form similar to pasta or fresh in the refrigerator and freezer sections. Prepare for lots of chewing action! Here is what Jjollmyeon looks like when they are frozen:
Because the noodles are so chewy, I would not recommend feeding this to infants or toddlers.
I find it easier to eat the vegetables if they are cut slightly thinner than the Jjollmyeyon. Kind of like this:
This dish is delicious by itself, or with a serving of Kimchi. I ate this with my homemade Oisobagi Kimchi or stuffed cucumber Kimchi. I’ll be posting a recipe for that next, so stay tuned.
Lemon or lime juice may sound strange to add to the sauce for a Korean dish. It is certainly unorthodox, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I especially love using lime-juice the best.
*I am not sponsored by the brand of Korean cold noodle soup mix mentioned in this post.
Lots and lots and lots of love,