Kongguksu

Kongguksu

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 12 hr 50 min (including soaking and chilling times)
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
These noodles in a chilled soy milk broth are one of the ultimate summer foods in Korea. The fresh soy milk has a nutty, slightly sweet, subtle flavor that pairs well with super ripe spicy kimchi. Restaurants that specialize in Korean chilled soy milk noodle soup always serve the broth unseasoned, setting out containers of salt at each table for diners to season to their preference. I call for measured amounts of salt and sugar for the broth, but you can adjust the seasoning to your liking. The recipe is simple but some care and planning ahead are required to ensure a creamy, milky broth.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Rinse the soybeans, transfer to a large bowl and pick through to remove and discard any dark-colored beans. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Cover and let soak in the refrigerator until the beans are hydrated and doubled in size, 8 to 10 hours.
  2. Drain and transfer the beans to a large pot. Add 10 cups cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching the bottom. Lower the heat to medium and let simmer, skimming the foam off the top as needed, until the beans are cooked through but still slightly firm and holding their shape, about 25 minutes. (The skins should easily slide off at this point and the beans should not completely disintegrate when pressed between two fingers.)
  3. Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a small saute pan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until nutty, fragrant and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove to a small bowl. In the same pan, toast the pine nuts, stirring constantly, until nutty, fragrant and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to another small bowl; set both bowls aside.
  4. Reserve 3 cups of the bean cooking water then drain the beans in a colander in the sink. Insert the colander in a large bowl and gently massage the beans under running water to remove the skins. Agitate the water to help the skins float to the top then skim them off with a small strainer or slotted spoon; repeat until at least 1 cup of the skins are removed.
  5. Combine the beans with the reserved bean water in a blender. Add the sugar, pine nuts, 3 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, 3 cups cold water and 2 teaspoons salt. Blend on medium-high speed until smooth and homogenous, 2 to 4 minutes. If your blender is not large enough to hold all the soy milk, blend it in two batches and transfer each batch to a large bowl. For a thinner, milk-like consistency, strain the soy milk through a fine-mesh sieve or add more water. Refrigerate the soy milk in an airtight container until very cold, about 4 hours or overnight.
  6. When ready to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain in a colander and rinse in a running bath of cold water, rubbing the noodles between your hands and gently massaging them in the water to remove the excess starch. Drain then repeat the rinsing, rubbing and massaging two more times. Drain thoroughly.
  7. Divide the noodles among 4 large soup bowls and top with the chilled soy milk. Divide the cucumber, tomatoes, eggs and remaining 1 tablespoon sesame seeds among the bowls, layering them on top of the noodles. Add ice cubes to the broth if desired. Serve immediately with ripe, fermented kimchi on the side.

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