Recipe: Cold Korean Noodle Bowl
Let us talk about my new favourite, make-ahead lunch that makes the most of fridge leftovers and store cupboard ingredients: my Cold Korean Noodle Bowls. The only thing you have to have in stock for sure is some type of noodle and a handful of kimchee. I’ve adapted these a fair bit from my favourite book on Korean cooking, Our Korean Kitchen (you can read more about it in my review here), and the below recipe makes for a great template for what you have leftover. The shreds of crispy duck and spring onions in this bowl, for example, were leftover from a big Chinese takeaway where we massively over ordered!
Recently, I’ve become that person who has loads of little pots of things in the fridge because I’ve made or ordered a little bit too much of something, and I simply can’t bear to throw anything away. Sometimes these turn into a little bit of everything lunch bowls (these appear often on my Instagram, for example this burrito bowl made form leftover slow cooker beef, shredded lettuce from a recipe post and takeaway quinoa salad), but I’ve also taken to stocking up on things like noodles and quick cook grains so that I can turn a few small scraps into something greater than the sum of their parts. For example, this would also work with cold rice; literally all you need as a base is some sot of Asian carb, and the kimchee dressing to liven things up.
A few ideas for what you could put on your noodle bowl: shredded chicken, duck, poached salmon, cold cooked prawns, crispy tofu, hard boiled (rather than soft boiled) eggs, omelette ribbons, homemade asian pickles, fresh coriander (I’ve always got some at the bottom of the fridge that needs using up!) mushrooms (raw, pan fried or pickled), blanched or crispy kale (keeping to the theme of leftovers from a Chinese takeaway, that crispy ‘seaweed’ would be perfect), crispy onions or shallots, you get the general idea? My measurements below make the sauce, and as a suggestion for those of you much happier following a recipe, what I used to make this bowl in the photos.
- 80g (3 oz) Skinny Soba Noodles
- 75g (2.5 oz) Kimchee, chopped
- 1 tsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp Runny Honey
- 1/2 tsp Gochugaru Korean Red Pepper Flakes (I get them on Amazon)
- 1 Soft Boiled Egg, halved (boiled for 5-6 minutes)
- 1/8 Cucumber, peeled and sliced
- 1 Large Spring Onion, shredded
- Large Handful Shredded Roast Duck
- 1/2 tsp Furikake Seasoning (again Amazon) or Toasted Black Sesame Seeds
Cook the noodles following the instructions on the packet and boil your egg while you prepare the dressing and the rest of your ingredients. To make the dressing, combine the chopped kimchee, vinegar, sesame oil, honey and gochugaru flakes (please do make the effort to find these online or in an Asian grocery, and whatever you do don’t try using regular chilli flakes instead. If you really can’t find them but you can find Aleppo Chilli/ Pul Biber substitute that) until they make a coherent sauce.
Drain the cooked noodles and rinse them under cold water until they’ve completely cooled. Shake out any excess water, and plate them up with the toppings portioned around the plate (see the recipe photos) and the soft boiled egg halved in the middle. Spoon the dressing into another portion (it is traditional to mix it in as you eat), and sprinkle furikake (if you’ve got a bottle for this recipe you can also use it over steamed rice, and in my Easy Salmon Poké Bowls) or sesame seeds over the top. If you’re packing this up for work, pack the dressing and the furikake/ sesame seeds in a separate bowl to add just before serving.
A few more make-ahead lunch ideas that you can use to make the most of leftovers: Mexican Roasted Sweet Potato, Radish & Tomato Bowls (I always have the end of a pack of radishes at the bottom of the fridge), Roasted Almond, Tomato & Feta Five Grain Bowl (and lumps of open feta that will only last a few days!), Bulgar Wheat with Kale and Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes (as well as bits from a bag of chopped kale!)