Saturday, July 8, 2017

Bibim Guksu with Summer Squash and Sesame Turnips

This Sunday at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market, you will find fresh cut flower arrangements from Tiger Lily Art Company and lots of fresh produce from Camas Swale Farm including:

beets (cook in a hash with spinach or pack into foil bundles for the grill)
turnips (delicious cooked in brown butter or in the bibim gusko below)
radishes (try smashed in chili oil
summer squash and zucchini (make a gratin or stir fry for bibim gusko below)
sugar snap peas
kale (try kale Florentine for brunch)
cabbage (make some homemade kimchi for bibim guksu below)

Since recovering from a bout of food poisoning while traveling in Asia, I've had a strong craving for kimchi. Perhaps it's nostalgia for all the delicious Asian food we'd sampled, or a subliminal need for probiotic bacteria, but when I read this description of a cold Korean noodle dish bibim gusku (literally "mixed noodles") I immediately wanted to try it. One of my favorite dishes to cook for the family is bibim bap ("mixed rice"), and here was a summery version with similar flavors and formulation.

A little internet searching revealed that a more traditional version of bibim gusku would use thin white wheat noodles (Somyeon) and incorporate chopped kimchi into the sauce. I love the flavor of buckwheat soba noodles, so I used these, and I kept the kimchi separate to maintain one of the virtues of bibim family meals: everyone is happy when they can customize the spicing and toppings to their preference.

This dish lends itself to improvising with your Farmers Market finds. In a pan Asian mash up, I made a quick side of Fuchsia Dunlop's Chinese sweet and sour summer squash and gave julienned hot pink turnips a Japanese-inspired treatment after the kinpira gobo (stir fried burdock) from Elin England's Eating Close to Home. Served along with some crunchy sliced cucumbers and Gryffindor carrots, a boiled egg, and some briny kimchi, this was a perfect summer meal that will be a regular on our dinner rotation. 

Bibim Guksu
serves four
300 g (3 circular packets) of soba noodles
Cook in salted boiling water until barely cooked through (about 5 minutes), then immediately rinse under cold water until entirely cooled. Toss with a drizzle of sesame oil to help prevent the strands from congealing. 

2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Korean gochujang paste for a mild, kid-friendly sauce, or more as desired 
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Mix together all the ingredients. Taste and adjust flavorings as desired.

sweet and sour summer squash
2 zucchini
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp Chinkiang vinegar
Quarter the summer squash lengthwise, and slice thinly. Toss with 1/2 tsp salt, mix well and set aside for 30 minutes or so to sweat. When you are ready to cook, squeeze the slices to get rid of excess water. Heat a wok over a high flame. Add the oil, then the garlic, and stir-fry for a few seconds until you smell its fragrance. Add the squash and stir-fry until they are hot and just cooked, but still a little crisp. Add the sugar and vinegar, with salt to taste, stir a couple of times, then tip on to a dish and serve.

julienned sesame turnips with edamame beans
3 large or 4 small turnips, washed, topped, and tailed
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sweet mirin or rice wine plus a pinch of sugar
1/2 cup fresh or frozen edamame beans
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp sesame seeds
red pepper flakes to taste

Slice the turnips and cut the slices into matchsticks. Mix together the soy sauce and mirin. Heat a skillet or wok over high heat and add the oil. When it is hot, add the julienned turnips. Stir fry for a couple minutes until a few start to brown. Add the soy sauce mixture and the edamame beans and continue cooking over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has completely reduced to a glaze. Remove from heat, drizzle with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes.

additional toppings
4 eggs cooked for six minutes in boiling water and immediately cooled for jammy yokes
julienned carrots and cucumbers

Before serving, toss the noodles with the sauce (or leave the noodles undressed for very picky eaters), adding sauce a little at a time until the noodles seem lightly coated. Let people serve themselves their preferred toppings and mix the noodles with the toppings on their plates. 

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