This rainbow-hued dish, called bibim noodles, is the Korean classic Bibimbap’s cold noodle sibling, replacing rice with noodles and using crunchy vegetables to create a refreshing cold noodle salad. You can use anything seasonal and fresh; just keep in mind to include a variety of color and texture for maximum wow factor. Keep it vegetarian or add leftover chicken or fish. A guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Note: If using buckwheat or vermicelli rice noodles, cook according to package directions, then rinse under cold water. It’s preferable to use buckwheat noodles, but if using vermicelli, make sure to buy noodles without potato starch, as they will not absorb the sauce as well. For the sauces, look for gochujang, Korean chile paste, in red tubs in the international section of your local grocery store.
Chilled noodles and assorted vegetables
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Recipe adapted from “Everyday Korean” by Kim Sunée and Seung-Hee Lee (Countryman Press)
Bibim Noodles and Vegetables:
3 cups cooked buckwheat or green tea noodles (substitution: vermicelli rice noodles without potato starch), rinsed under cold water, drained
1 cup julienned cucumbers (about ½ English) or 1 Kirby or 2 Persian
1 cup julienned carrots (about 1 carrot)
1/2 cup julienned red bell peppers (about 1 pepper)
1/2 cup julienned yellow bell peppers (about 1 pepper)
1 cup radish sprouts (or thinly sliced romaine lettuce)
1 cup julienned Asian pears (about 1 medium) or apples such as Fuji or Brisbane (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken or king crab legs or cooked shrimp (optional)
2 soft-boiled eggs, optional
Spicy bibim noodle sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chile paste) or other preferred hot paste
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
1 to 2 teaspoons honey or preferred sweetener (maple syrup, sugar)
1 tablespoon chopped green onion
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon lightly toasted sesame seeds (see note in pantry/staples)
Mild bibim noodle sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar (white or brown) or preferred sweetener (maple syrup, agave)
Fresh squeezed lime juice, to taste
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, mint, or Thai basil, about ½ bunch total (optional)
1. Make either the spicy bibim noodle sauce or the mild (or both) by combining the ingredients in a bowl and mixing just until blended; set aside.
2. In a big serving dish, arrange the cooked noodles in the center, and place the julienned vegetables, Asian pears, radish sprouts, and roasted chicken or seafood (if using) around the noodles. Alternatively, prepare noodles, vegetables and protein in individual bowls big enough for guests to mix on their own. Mix the noodles with the sauce of your choice just before serving. Top the noodles with soft boiled egg halves.