Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Jjolmyun (쫄면 Chewy Noodles)

I love jjolmyun. It's a Korean noodle dish with a spicy sauce and it can be customized to your preference - with plenty of vegetables or without. Like bibim naengmyun, it's a perfect summer dish because it doesn't require much cooking (just boiling water) and it's a lovely fresh dish that's cooling and refreshing. The noodles, again like naengmyun, are chewy, but they're thicker. I believe that the origin of jjolmyun is that a factory that was making naengmyun messed up because the noodles came out too thick and so they gave them away to a restaurant where the owner mixed them up with gochujang.

Ingredients [serves 4]:
1 package of jjolmyun noodles (sold in Asian markets - each packet usually comes with two servings but once you add lots of vegetables, it will serve at least four)
1 head of romaine lettuce (or half a head of cabbage if you prefer a different type of crunch)
1/4 red onion
3 or 4 baby bell peppers or 1/2 a regular bell pepper
1 or 2 hard boiled eggs
1 avocado

**If you buy just the noodles in a package without sauce, just make the sauce: mix 1/4 cup gochujang, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons apple juice (or Coca Cola), 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and stir
Cut the romaine (or cabbage), slice the onion (thinly since no one likes a huge bite of onion), and cut the baby bell peppers into strips.

Cook and drain the noodles according to the directions on the package. It usually only takes about 4 minutes. Then give the noodles a good bath in ice cold water. It cools the noodles down, obviously, but it also helps the noodles become even chewier (like with naengmyun).
In a large bowl, combine the vegetables, noodles, and sauce (which comes in packets inside the package of noodles). Toss with tongs until everything is combined. Top with avocado (which shouldn't be tossed to maintain its integrity) and halved hard boiled eggs.
Serve and enjoy. Fresh and summery and perfect on a hot day.

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