Gaji Naengguksu | Chilled Noodle Soup with Charred Aubergine
A chilled noodle soup may sound unusual but it is a true oasis in Korea's scorching summers. Prepared with simplicity, this no-fuss dish features a delicate broth lightly seasoned with dried kelp. The smoky notes of the charred marinated aubergines add a beautiful contrast to the cool broth and tender noodles.
For the broth
650ml of stock
1 tsp of golden granulated sugar
1 tsp of soup or light soy sauce
1 tsp of sea salt flakes, or to taste
2 tsp of cider vinegar
For the aubergines
2 aubergines, about 700g, sliced into 1cm thick discs
1 tbsp of vegetable oil, for brushing
sea salt flakes, to season
2 tsp of thin julienne matchsticks of ginger root
1 garlic clove, minced
1 red bird’s eye chilli, chopped
1 green bird’s eye chilli, chopped
2 tbsp of cider vinegar
2 tbsp of mirin
1 tbsp of golden caster (superfine) sugar
1 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp of toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp of gochugaru (Korean red chilli flakes)
For the noodles
4 servings of somyeon or somen noodles (thin dried wheat noodles)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
2 spring onions (scallions), sliced
1 tsp of toasted white sesame seeds
To make the broth, combine all the ingredients in a jug or bottle and refrigerate until needed.
If you want to serve the broth icy cold and slushy, transfer the broth to the freezer about 30 minutes before serving. Preheat the griddle pan until nice and hot. Brush the sliced aubergines with a little oil (I only do it on one side to get it going) and season with a good pinch of salt. Cook the aubergines for 3–4 minutes on each side until they’re softened and char marks are visible. You may need to cook the aubergines in batches. Transfer the charred aubergines to a large mixing bowl, cover and let them steam for 10 minutes – they should appear soft and more relaxed. Add the rest of the ingredients for the aubergines and toss gently to combine. Leave to marinate for a further 10 minutes to soak up the flavour.
Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Rinse to remove the starch, then drain thoroughly
Divide the noodles and marinated aubergines among four bowls. Gently pour the chilled broth over the noodles – about 160ml per bowl.
Top with the red onion, spring onions and sesame seeds.
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