Have you ever eaten iced noodle soup? We are Americans in Korea which means that we have an advantage over the Koreans. We have learned what they like to eat when it is hot out, and we have dishes we like to eat when it is hot out too. In this blog, my daughter and I decided to share two different things with you we eat when it is hot out. If you read another blog I wrote, you will realize that a Mexican lady gave me cooking lessons, and my contribution to the cold food is guacamole made Mexican style. My daughter will share nemyeong, Korean cold noodle soup.
I will begin with the guacamole. The first thing you have to do is buy the avocados. Avocados are new in Korea, and the Korean people are still trying to figure out how to use them. I have been given a sandwich made by the Koreans made with avocado mixed with other vegetables and meat inside. Most Koreans and Americans alike don’t know the perfect time to buy avocados. The Mexican lady taught me how to figure out when the best time to buy those avocados is. Grocery stores in America and Korea both don’t know because usually, when it is a good time to buy the avocados is when they mark the price down. Yes, it is good they are cheaper, but getting the avocado at the correct ripeness is the most important. The avocado should not be green, but black. If you pick it up, it should not be hard, but it should also not be mushy. If there is just a slight give when you hold the avocado, but still a firmness, the avocado is usually ready. If you wait too long, the avocado may start getting brown inside. If you use it too quickly, it will be too hard to mash, If I accidentally buy them when they still have parts that are too hard to mash, I have learned that you can take the hard parts and put them in the microwave a little bit and they become soft. Here in Korea, we have also discovered a way to get the avocados already pureed, so sometimes we do that. Since it is an import, you might be able to find something like that in America or where ever you live.
Besides the avocados, you also need about one good sized tomato, one bell pepper, and one onion per two avocados. For the bell pepper, I have learned to substitute what the Romanians call gogoshar, the red, yellow, and orange round peppers that taste even better than bell peppers. As for my family, even though I was initially taught to put onion in the guacamole, I leave it out now because everyone in our family has problems with raw onions. I used to use them, and the Mexican lady taught me to use them, but we seem to have a genetic problem because several of us end up with burning stomachs if we eat raw onions, so I just leave them out, and the guacamole still tastes great.
Begin by cutting the avocado in half and taking the seed out. If you can just spoon the avocado out easily, your avocado is probably the right ripeness. Next, use a fork and mash the avocado. Mash it all.
Spoon the avocado out of the peeling.
Mash the avocado up with a fork.
Cut the pepper, tomato, and onion up into little pieces.
Next, cut up the pepper, tomato, and onion in little bitty pieces. Add them to the mashed avocado and stir it up. It is that simple. Your guacamole is finished. Get some chips and eat it. If you use the puree from the packages, the avocado is not a stiff as if you actually use the avocado. The problem with trying to use real avocados is trying to buy them at just the right time, but with practice, you can learn.
Next, my daughter is going to show us how to make nemyeong, cold buckwheat noodle soup.
The next thing I want to share with you is nemyeong. Nemyeong is cold buckwheat noodles soup. Koreans eat soup all day long. They may eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Their tradition is even to eat seaweed soup on their birthdays like we eat birthday cake, but in recent times, they have been making birthday cakes in the bakeries for people to buy. Nowadays, a Korean mother makes the seaweed soup for the birthday, and usually, the friends will buy someone the cake. Soup is the tradition and very important in Korea. The first time I saw nemyeong, I was shocked because the noodles are brown and they add ice.
If you go to the grocery store here, there is always a huge section of soup packages maybe two isles long. They are like the ramen packages we have in America and Japan, but the Korean soups are a little different from ramen. The Korean version of ramen is called rameyon. Most Korean soup has kimchee or curry in it, but nemyeong has vinegar. Many families in Korea use these soup packages and have instant soup every evening after work and school.
She puts the water over the noodles, and then puts them on to boil.
She stirs the noodles with chop sticks as they boil. If you want to add the radishes, add them after you take the noodles off the fire and before you run cold water over the noodles.
First take out a sauce pan. Next, put the buckwheat noodles in the pan and fill it with water. If it were me cooking, I usually boil the water first, but my daughter was taught to put the noodles and the water on the fire at the same time by the Koreans. The noodles in these soup packages must be half done because it doesn’t take long for he noodles to boil. (She didn’t even have them boil 5 minutes, and they were done.)
When the noodles are boiled, put them in a colander and pour the hot water out of them, There is a package with dried radishes in the soup package. My daughter didn’t use the dried radishes, but if you want to use them, you put them in while the noodles are still in the hot water so they can hydrate. After you pour the hot water out of the noodles, run cold water over them for a while to cool them off.
Next, put the noodles in a bowl. Next, my daughter took the bowl to our iced water filter. In Korea, no one drinks the water. If they don’t buy bottled water, every home will have a water filter for clean drinking water. Some of them only have iced cold water, but our filter will also give you hot water for tea or coffee if you adjust it. However, at this time, she runs the iced cold water over the noodles.
Next, she uses the flavor package that is broth and vinegar and mixes it into the noodle soup. After that, she adds ice. She really enjoys this soup in the cold weather and so do the Koreans.
When I told my son in law I was going to do this blog, he said you need to also learn about pat bean soo, the nice cold desert made with shaved ice, sweet bean paste, sweetened condensed milk, ice cream, rice cakes, and sometimes fruit or nuts. However, we don’t have a way to make the shaved ice. If you look at some of my other blogs when we went out to eat, you can find pictures of pat bean soo. It is delicious! He also mentioned something else which is a kind of fruit cocktail in fruit juice they eat in the summer, but I haven’t ever even eat it. I still have more to learn. I told him if I knew how to make Korean cinnamon tea, it is scrumptious, and I would show you that, but I have never made it, only been served it. I will keep learning and sharing with you.