Super-speedy Sesame-sprinkled Somen with Kimchi

Sashiburi de, interwebs.

I return to report on what will become a staple super-fast dinner in my household: kimchi noodles¹. It’s not often that I have all the ingredients in the pantry for Serious Eats’ Dinner Tonight column, but in our recent East Asian phase, we have stocked up on kimchi and a variety of dried noodles, like udon and somen. Furthermore, there are almost always green onions in the fridge, and sesame oil, rice vinegar and sugar in the cupboards. So, ingredients: check!

Let’s see now, it took all of 30 seconds to decant half a jar of kimchi on the chopping board and a further 30 seconds to julienne the squares of napa cabbage/leaf. A further 30 second period was invested in thinly slicing a stalk of spring onions (aka scallions). It took about a minute² to extricate the large mixing bowl from its tall stack of precariously balanced dishes and mix in the kimchi, scallions, 1 tsp of rice vinegar and 1 tsp of sugar. All this time, the water for the noodles was boiling in the kettle, so I spent a further minute or two preparing the pot, colander, bowls and chopsticks. Choosing somen, from boiling water to finished product (2 min), rinsed under the tap till cool, was another time-saving choice. All the chopping, slicing, boiling, cooling and tossing of the noods in kimchi and a sploosh of sesame ooil took under 10 min. There was even time to prepare some kinugoshi (silken) tofu by topping half a block with a yuzu miso paste and more finely sliced green onions. So, speed: check!

Taste: check, check, check! It passes the D and P taste test. Depending on the kimchi you start with, of course. It’s taken me a while to find a mild kimchi that doesn’t disagree with the super-fussy stomach in P’s pathetic peritoneum, but still stimulates our tastebuds: K.J’s MSG-free Napa Kimchee. Made in Carson, California, so it passes the locavore test too. We definitely like the fish paste in our kimchi but not too sweet and no MSG, so recommendations welcomed.

No doubt, these kimchi noodles fail any Korean authenticity test, but so does pesto pasta another alliterative speedy carb-based mid-week meal. My two online sources of Korean foodology are pretty keen on what must be the original that inspired this super-fast take. Zenkimchi describes his search for the perfect summer dish: naengmyeon and thedelicious mentions cucumbers and pears in her bibim naeng myun, which is something to try next time.

Something else on the list of things to try is a Korean restaurant that does not specialise in soondubu or galbi… Again, recommendations will be appreciated.

Until my next sporadic spouting, mata ne.


¹Nae photos again. The trusty little Nikon 775 is with the boss. What he’s doing with it, I don’t want to know…

² It only took so long because the cupboards are filled to the gills and need to be emptied whenever I want something stashed at the back. Oh how I long for revolving Ikea shelves…

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5 thoughts on “Super-speedy Sesame-sprinkled Somen with Kimchi

  1. Looks like you mean 久しぶりですね (hisashiburi desu ne) in the beginning. Even so, this is somewhat formal; the corresponding casual form is 久々ね (hisabisa ne), which is at the same level of formality as 又ね (mata ne).

  2. No problem. Not that I’m an expert in Japanese, but the trick to Japanese grammar is all in the particles. Once you get that straightened out, the grammar is pretty straightforward.

    For example,

    久しぶり + です + ね
    it’s been long time since our last meeting (semi-formal) + is (semi-formal) + interjection

    roughly “it’s been awhile, hasn’t it?”

    久々 + ね

    it’s been long time since our last meeting (casual) + interjection

    roughly “long time no see, yeah?”

    the verb “to be” is implicit in the casual version.

  3. Pingback: Kimchi noodles revisited « akatsuki ra-ra-ra

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