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Spicy Korean Temple Noodles

2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chile paste)
2 tablespoons Asian persimmon, plum or other fruit vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar, preferably organic
1 tablespoon black raspberry extract or other berry syrup
1 teaspoon soy sauce, preferably Korean
9 ounces thin udon
1/4 English cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced


In a large bowl, mix together the gochujang, vinegar, sugar, berry extract and soy sauce. Bring to a boil 3 quarts of water in a large pot with plenty of space to spare. Add the noodles, and when the water returns to the boil, add a cup of cold water. Return to the boil and repeat, adding the cold water, twice more. By this time the noodles should be al dente. Drain them, rinse briefly with cold water and drain well. Add noodles to the bowl of seasoning. Toss together. Divide among 4 plates or bowls, top each with cucumber and serve.

Source: cooking.nytimes.com