korean-cucumber-noodles

If you’re looking for a dish that’s light yet perks up your palate, then this is ideal. The mixture of hot chilli and cool cucumber is irresistible. Gochuchang is available in Asian grocers or Chinatown. If you can’t find it, don’t leave it out as it’s an essential flavouring in this dish – use miso paste, which is more widely available, instead, combined with red chilli powder to taste. Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature – all give different textures and are equally delicious. Serves 4 to 6.

1 lb/ 450g fine wheat or egg noodles
4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
½ pint soy sauce
2 fl oz white rice vinegar
1 teaspoon caster sugar
4 level tablespoons gochujang (Korean soybean and red chilli paste)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for minimum 30 minutes
1 very large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and sliced
Small red radishes, decoratively cut into flowers
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
A little cucumber peel, finely shredded

1. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Then drain, rinse in cold water, and place them a large bowl. Immediately add sesame oil, and toss around with a fork and a spoon to ensure that they don’t stick.
2. In a separate bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, gochujang, garlic and spring onions.
3. Drain the shiitake mushrooms, carefully removing any grit, and slice them. Add the sauce, mushrooms and cucumber to the noodles, and toss gently until everything is mixed thoroughly.
4. Pile the noodles in the centre of a large serving platter. Surround them with egg slices and radish flowers for decoration, and top with sesame seeds and shredded cucumber peel before serving.

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