Noodles with Seoul


By Keri White

I have written before about my love of Korean food. The cuisine delivers spice, complexity and a little sweetness. It lends itself well to carnivores and vegetarians alike, and with the right ingredients is quite simple to make.

Korean-style gochujang noodles
Korean-style gochujang noodles (Keri White)

When cooking Korean-style, I lean heavily on gochujang, which is a delightful blend of chili powder, sticky rice, salt and fermented soybean powder — a glorious red paste that makes everything taste good. Gochujang is increasingly available in traditional supermarkets, but if you can’t find it, order it online or head to your local Asian grocery or Chinatown to secure a supply.

We tossed together a delicious and simple dish of spicy noodles to accompany some grilled chicken and zucchini, but the following recipe can be used with any protein or vegetable that you like.

Korean-style gochujang noodles

Serves 2

A note on the noodles: I bought dry, packaged ramen from my local shop, but any noodle works here — fresh, dry, rice-based, even “zoodles” or spiralized veggies. Use egg noodles or spaghetti if that is all you have on hand.

1 8-ounce package dry ramen-style noodles

2 tablespoons gochujang paste

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 small handful fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the gochujang, vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil.

Cook the noodles according to the package directions until just al dente. Drain the noodles, reserving ¼ cup of cooking water. Toss the noodles in the sauce and, if needed add a little bit of the hot water to distribute (you should not need all of the water). Sprinkle the noodles with the cilantro and scallions, and serve immediately.

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