VIDEO| Korea Kitchen: Bring heat with spicy jaengban-guksu

Photos by ChiHon Kim
Photos by ChiHon Kim

VIDEO| Korea Kitchen: Bring heat with spicy jaengban-guksu

by ChiHon Kim
Stripes Korea

Korean cold noodles are definitely staple summer treat on this peninsula. For many Koreans, probably the first cold noodles that pops into their heads are naengmyeon and bibimguksu. While naengmyeon, a cold noodle served in a chilled beef broth, is loved by many Koreans because of its addictive light and refreshing taste, bibimguksu, coated in a spicy pepper paste with various choice of vegetables, gives us pleasure with its unique sour and sweet taste. I much prefer bibimguksu, made of memilmyeon (buckwheat noodles), over bibimguksu, which is made from somyeon (or thin wheat flour noodles). So, the recipe I'm going to share is a memil bibimguksu (or Jaengbanguksu), which is served on a large plate with lots of different veggies.

If you’ve ever seen or tried bibimbap, a symbolic Korean food, it is no exaggeration to say that you already know the ingredients of bibimguksu. 'Bibim' is roughly translated to 'mix' and 'guksu' means noodle. All you have to do is just throw cooked noodles and a handful of fresh veggies of choice in a bowl and mix them all with spicy gochujang. Use your creativity when making this dish. You can fill the large plate with any kind of veggies, even fruit from your kitchen.

The spicy cold noodle is perfectly paired with meat, so it is often served in Korean BBQ restaurants or Jokbal places (or pig's feet place). This easy and quick meal is great for weeknight dinner, but it also a perfect side dish at a weekend BBQ party in your backyard. Give this cold spicy noodle a try at home as you try to beat summer heat. 


• Prepare cold waters with ice - Rinsing the noodles in cold running water is an easy way to remove the surface starch and make the noodles slightly chewy.

• Prepare boiled eggs ahead of time. Make soft-boiled eggs in advance and cool them in cold water, so the cooking process can go smoothly.

- PREP TIME: 20 mins 
- COOK TIME: 10 mins
- TOTAL TIME: 30 mins 



For the sauce:

  • 4 Tbsp Korean chili paste (gochujang)
  • 2 Tbsp Korean chili powder (gochugaru)
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp light mustard
  • ½ Cup soft drink (any kind of lemon-lime drink like Sprite)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp mirin (rice wine)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar or corn syrup  

For the noodles:

  • 500 - 600g buckwheat noodles (memilguksu) or soba
  • ½ cup julienned red cabbage (optional)
  • 1 bell pepper (optional)
  • ½ cup julienned perilla leave (optional)
  • ½ cup julienned cucumber
  • ¼ cup julienned carrot (optional)
  • Half Korean pear (optional)
  • 1 cup leafy greens or julienned lettuce 
  • 1 boiled egg, cut into half (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • Black pepper (optional)


1. Mix all ingredients to make sauce in a bowl and keep it in the fridge.

2. Cut all veggies and fruit into long thin strips and keep them in ice water.

3. Boil some water in a large pot. When the water comes to a boil, add the noodles and gently stir them until slightly tender. (Read the instructions on your noodle package to determine the correct time.)

4. Remove the noodles from heat and rinse the noodles thoroughly with plenty of cold water with your hands to remove the excess starch. Then let the water drain well.

5. Put the noodles in the middle of bowl or dish and plate the rest of the ingredients attractively.

6. Add the sauce on top of noodles and mix them together with veggies until the noodles are coated well.

7. Sprinkle sesame seeds and seaweed strips over noodles. Bon appetite or 잘 먹겠습니다! (Pronounced: jal meok-ke-sseum-nida)!

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