June flew by. We're already well into July. Things either happen at a snail's pace or maddening race-car speed. It never seems to be a nice, hippity-hoppity in the park. Yet, I am getting to a point where I enjoy everything I do and do it with gratitude.
When things get busy, I need a few sure dishes to fall back on and this is one of them. I have made variations of this for several occasions recently and it never seems to let anyone down. This noodle salad is essentially bibim guksu I like making all-year-round, but especially in the summer time. Chilled buckwheat noodles mixed in spicy-tangy-sweet sauce is the kind that brings back your appetite with the first bite on a hot summer day. Lots of vegetables add crunchy, sweet, cooling bites.
Feel free to plate a good amount of this noodle salad on a platter with small tasting plates for everyone to share. Koreans refer noodles on a platter like this as, hmm, platter (쟁반 - jaeng ban) noodles (국수 - guksu), a.k.a., 쟁반국수. Buckwheat noodles, spicy-tangy sauce and vegetables you like and you have at home will make a crowd pleaser any time this summer.
You can make the sauce a day or two ahead. You can also cut all the vegetables a few hours ahead or even overnight and store them in the refrigerator. Just make sure to cook the noodles close to the serving time and mix in toasted sesame oil right after rinsing in cold water. Cooking the noodles right before eating will help retain the pleasantly chewy-soft texture of the noodles, and sesame oil will help the noodles not stick to one big lump.
Also, a popular ingredient for this recipe - although not in this particular time - is fresh perilla leaves, a.k.a. sesame leaves (깻잎 - ggaet nip). If you don't have an easy access to perilla leaves, try mint leaves. It has a way of freshening up the dish and rendering a slightly reminiscent taste of perilla leaves. I see fresh, green bundles of mint everywhere these days, so I like making use of them here when I can't make it to a Korean grocery store.
To make 2 main portions or 4 appetizer portions)
Make the sauce by mixing lemon juice, soy sauce, honey and gochujang. Let it rest.
Cut all vegetables into thin slices.
Add the sauce to buckwheat noodles and mix well. Add vegetables and mix well.
메밀 (me mil) buckwheat