Makguksu – 막국수 (Buckwheat Noodles Salad)
Buckwheat noodles with chicken and vegetables aka Makguksu (막국수) and hot summer go together like hot chocolate and cold winter. There’s just something curiously cooling about all the fresh crunchy vegetables and cold buckwheat noodles(메밀국수 maemil guksu) mixed together. But then again, nothing curious about it I guess, since maemil/buckwheat IS a cooling food. Buckwheat is so effective in cooling your body that almost every adult in Korea knows that it can cause diarrhea in people with a sensitive and cold stomach.
And don’t forget, #LifesDelicious, so enjoy it!
- 1 pkg buckwheat noodles (maemil guksu, 240g for 4)
- 1 large chicken breast
- 1 carrot (julienned)
- 1/2 red bell pepper (thinly sliced)
- 1/8 cabbage (sliced thinly)
- 1/3 English cucumber (julienned)
- 1 small bunch curly endive or chicory (치커리 - is available as ssam veggie in Korea)
- 4-5 romaine lettuce leaves (cut into strips)
- 4-5 perilla leaves (cut into strips)
- 1 bunch ssukkat (crown daisy)
- 2 green chili peppers
- 1/2 red onion (missing from picture)
- For the sauce:
- 2~3 Tbsp red chili powder (고추가루 gochukaru)
- 5 Tbsp chicken broth (unsalted)
- 1 Tbsp onion (grated)
- 1 Tbsp pear (grated)
- 1 Tbsp radish (grated)
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp yellow mustard
- 10-11 tsp vinegar (10-11 tsp = 3 Tbsp + 1-2 tsp)
- 3 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp maesil syrup (optional)
Boil chicken breast in water until fully cooked. (15 min. or so) Let it cool.
Make the sauce by mixing in all of the sauce ingredients. Tip: Make the sauce ahead and let the flavor fully develop overnight in the fridge. For easy prep, use a blender/chopper to finely blend onion, pear, and radish altogether. And use the broth made from step 1 for the sauce.
Prepare vegetables: Thinly julienne carrots, red bell pepper, and red onions.
Cut cabbage, perilla leaves, and romain lettuce into 1/2 in wide strips.
Cut curly endive, ssukkat into 3 long pieces. Cut green chilis into thin slices.
Tear or cut the chicken breast into strips.
Boil water and cook buckwheat (maemil) noodles according to package directions. Rinse noodles in cold water 2-3 times until noodles are completed cooled. Drain.
Plate noodles and vegetables. Serve sauce and mix at the table. Drizzle some sesame oil and sesame seeds at the end. For extra nuttiness, add chopped peanuts or pine nuts as garnish.
1. Noodles – if you can’t buy Korean maemil noodles, you can substitute Japanese soba noodles or even just plain flour noodles. Note Japanese soba noodles contain quite a bit of sodium - more than Korean maemil guk su. 2. Vegetables – use whatever vegetables you have in your fridge and they can work. Just try to have some that’s crunchy (carrots, bell pepper, cucumber, cabbage), something leafy (lettuce, frisee, curly endive, etc), and then something aromatic and flavorful (ssukkat, perilla leaves, green onions, onions, green chilis). 3. Calorie and sodium levels assume you are using Korean buckwheat noodles and also that you are about 1/2 of the sauce. You will most likely use less than 1/2 though.