Mul naengmyeon is a cold noodle dish with an icy broth that varies from restaurant to restaurant. Although this dish is rarely made from scratch at home (as there are many options of refrigerated and frozen instant mul naengmyeon available at Korean grocery stores), we created a recipe with the quality of a restaurant version but using simpler steps and more accessible ingredients. With a little bit of planning and time, you can create a slightly tangy, sweet, savory dish to enjoy as a stand-alone meal or eat after Korean barbecue. We call for combining the beef broth with the liquid from store-bought dongchimi (radish water kimchi), but you can omit that if you prefer just the subtle beef broth flavor.
For the broth: Put the shank and brisket in a large bowl and add cold water to cover. Let soak, changing the water halfway through if it gets too discolored, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
Meanwhile, add 4 quarts cold water and the dasima to a 6-quart Dutch oven or pot. Let sit until the dasima doubles in size and the water turns a slight green-yellow, 30 to 45 minutes.
Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat; boil until the dasima starts to foam around the sides, about 2 minutes. Discard the dasima, then add the shank, brisket, black peppercorns, garlic, scallion whites, onion and fresh radish. Bring to a boil again, then lower the heat to medium and cook at a gentle boil (where you see 2 to 3 bubbles appearing on the surface at most), keeping an eye on the broth and adjusting the heat if necessary every 30 minutes to ensure it's not boiling away, until just slightly reduced, 1 hour 15 minutes. Cover with the lid, lower the heat to low and simmer until the broth is darker and reduced further, another 1 hour 15 minutes.
Remove the meat from the broth and let cool on a plate. Once cool, thinly slice the meat and refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use. Using a slotted spoon or hand-held strainer, pick out and discard the vegetables and black peppercorns from the broth. Transfer the broth to an airtight container and refrigerate until cooled completely, 8 to 12 hours. Once the broth is completely cool, strain through a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.
Season the chilled broth with the soup soy sauce and 2 teaspoons salt. Combine with the dongchimi liquid and adjust the seasoning to taste with more dongchimi liquid, salt and/or vinegar to your preference. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the garnish: Add the eggs to a small saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover by at least 1 inch. Bring the water to just under a boil and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge in an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Once cool, peel and halve vertically. Set aside.
Toss the cucumber in a medium bowl with the vinegar, 2 teaspoons of the sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and mix to ensure each slice is seasoned and coated well. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Whisk the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar with 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. Add the sliced pear and set aside (this helps the pears from oxidizing and turning brown).
For the naengmyeon: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to the package instructions. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse under running cold water, rubbing the noodles between your fingers and gently massaging in the water. Drain and then rinse again, repeating this process 2 more times to rid the noodles of excess starch. Allow to drain well and set aside in the colander until ready to use. (When ready to plate, rinse the noodles once more, as they tend to stick together.)
Divide the noodles, boiled eggs, cucumber, pear, fermented radish and chilled broth among 4 large soup bowls. Add ice cubes to the broth. Serve immediately with white vinegar and yellow mustard on the side.
Korean soup soy sauce is much lighter in color than regular soy sauce and is typically used for seasoning Korean soups and stews, as it does not alter the color as much as regular soy sauce.
Dongchimi (water radish kimchi) can be found in the refrigerated kimchi section at Korean grocery stores. It is often sold in 3-pound jars or 26-ounce containers. Other names to look for are “cold radish kimchi,” “radish water kimchi” or “winter radish kimchi.”
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