Can a recipe be both spicy and refreshing at the same time? Because that’s exactly what this one is.
Other than boiling the eggs and the noodles, this recipe requires no additional heat or cooking, so it’s a perfect dish to prepare on the hottest of summer days.
Granted, the ingredient list is a bit long and daunting, but the result is well worth the effort (just a note, we were able to easily find everything we needed between Whole Foods and an Asian market.)
Cold rice noodles are topped with a spicy sauce composed of kimchi (spicy fermented cabbage… a spicy sauerkraut, essentially), pepper paste, red miso, sugar, orange zest, and ginger (among other things, but those are the primary flavor elements that come through in the end), and then topped with an array of fresh ingredients like radish, cherry tomato, cucumber, and cilantro. The soft-boiled egg is a nice touch as well that makes the dish more substantial and filling on its own.
I’m not sure what I was expecting when Taylor first showed me this recipe… but it definitely wasn’t that. Maybe with all the spicy, heavy-sounding ingredients I was anticipating a strong and pungent sauce, almost like a hot chili oil or something that would top a hot dish like Kung Pao chicken.
But in reality, the sauce, while definitely spicy, is surprisingly light and fresh. The notes of orange and ginger give the sauce a brightness that is resoundingly un-oily. I mean, I feel strange calling a spicy noodle dish refreshing but there’s really no better word to describe it.
We followed the NY Times recipe almost exactly, and so there is no reason for me to reprint it here, though I am making a few notes/comments, for my own reference as much as yours (because this is one dish I’ll definitely prepare again and again).
A few notes:
– Next time I’d use slightly less ginger and orange zest, as those were the strongest flavors that came through in the sauce.
– I’d also refine my soft-boiled egg technique, as you can see mine were a bit overcooked. The recipe says to boil for 7 minutes, however I was always taught to bring the eggs up to boiling with the water, so that’s probably the reason ours are medium-boiled. Guessing he meant to add the eggs once the water was boiling, and then boil for 7 minutes. Further testing is required.
– We found the gochujang chili paste at our favorite Asian market, but if you can’t find it, something like sriracha should work just fine. Same for the gochugaru red pepper flakes, regular ones work just as well (but in a lesser quantity because they are generally much spicier). Unfortunately there really isn’t a substitute for the kimchi or red miso paste, you really need to track those ingredients down.
The good news is that once you’ve tracked down the ingredients you’ll have them on hand to make this recipe multiple times. I’m also intrigued by this Korean pepper paste… I think it will be a unique alternative to something like sriracha, and I’m excited to explore the possibilities.