Since buckwheat noodles are perhaps most famously used in Korean cuisine in naengmyeon (noodles in cold meat broth), many instantly picture the noodles in an icy, clear broth with some meat and half an egg on top. However, buckwheat noodles are not just for naengmyeon.
While naengmyeon is a term widely used for any cold noodles, the term that refers to dishes made with buckwheat noodles is makguksu. A variety of ingredients can be added to mix with the noodles: oftentimes, gochujang is used as the mixing sauce, or even just perilla seed oil is used with some gim (laver) flakes.
Whether it be sauce or oil, adding just a few more ingredients give the dish some more texture and flavors. Chef Lee Tae-woo of pasta restaurant Evidence makes his makgusu with abalone and radish.
100 grams of mu (radish), 1 abalone, 75 grams of makguksu (buckwheat noodles), 1 large piece of dried dasima (kelp), 15 grams of perilla seed oil, 5 grams of sesame oil, a pinch of salt, 10 grams of pine nut powder, 1 pinch of food seasoning powder, a few drops of grapeseed oil, 1 spoon of Japanese seasoning tzuyu
Boil water in a large pot to steam the abalone covered with dried dasima pieces for 75 minutes.
In the meantime, cut the mu into thin strips.
Grease a frying pan with grapeseed oil, and lightly fry the mu on medium heat, careful to not burn the mu.
When the white mu turns a bit more clear, set it aside to cool down.
Place the cooled-down mu strips in a large bowl and add the pine nut powder, sesame oil, food seasoning powder and salt. Mix well and set aside the now-seasoned mu, called mu namul.
Check that the abalone has cooled down enough to feel just warm. Remove the meat from the shell. Remove the intestines and teeth. Slice the meat thinly and set aside.
Boil water and cook the buckwheat noodles for four minutes. After boiling, cool the noodles in icy water.
Drain the water and add 5 grams of perilla seed oil and a pinch of salt to season. Add tsuyu and mix well.
Place noodles on the plate. Add the mu namul and steamed abalone slices. Serve and eat.
BY LEE SUN-MIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]