A Quick and Delicious Summer Meal

When the dog days of summer hit, the last thing we want to do is slave over a stove getting dinner on the table. Last night was one of those lazy summer evenings, when I just wanted an easy meal that was also delicious.

So, I’m sharing with you my recipe for Yachae Gooksu (Vegetable Mixed Noodles), which will be included in my upcoming cookbook — “Quick and Easy Korean” (to be published by Chronicle Books in 2009). This is like a quick appetizer for the book, which includes recipes that all require 30 minutes or less of work time (believe me, I timed myself when making each dish!).

Last night I had dinner on the table in 15 minutes! It helped that my husband made the yangnyeom ganjang (seasoned soy sauce). An easy to make, healthy meal? Say it isn’t so!

mixed korean vegetable noodles

Vegetable Mixed Noodles (Yachae Gooksu)

1 pound dried somen noodles (about 4 bundles)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more if needed
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, coarsely shredded
3 small zucchini, thinly sliced crosswise
3 green onions, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 pickling or Persian cucumbers, coarsely shredded
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, then add the somen and cook until al dente, About 3 to 4 minutes. Rinse under cold water, drain well and divide the noodles among 4 large bowls.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the zucchini and a little more oil if needed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is just slightly browned. Turn off the heat, add the green onions, and toss.

Stir the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar together in a small bowl until the sugar is dissolved.

Pile the vegetable mixture on the noodles and drizzle with the soy mixture. Top with the cucumbers, sesame seeds, and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Variations: If you’re feeling more adventurous, experiment with other vegetables. Mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and sprouts work well.

Note: For smaller or larger portions, remember that one bundle of somen noodles works out to be enough noodles for one person.

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