As summer is approaching, I could not stop thinking about this spicy Korean cold noodle salad. This noodle salad has many varieties, but this one has become my favorite with the addition of tahini. It is spicy, tangy, and yet creamy. The cold vegetables give a satisfying crunchiness while the spicy gochujang sauce will heat you up and make you sweat in a hot summer day. There is a Korean saying: "yi-yul-chi-yul," meaning fight heat with heat. Once you have finished eating this dish, you will find yourself sweating out the heat.
To make this cold noodle salad, you must prepare the vegetables in a way that best resemble the buckwheat noodles - in matchsticks, julienne, or sliced. The point is that you are able to grab each vegetable topping with the chopsthick.
Another unique characteristic of Korean dishes is that you have to mix everything with your hands. The point of this is so that as gently massaging the ingredients togehter the dressing gets encorporated, absorbed even. Koreans do not simply toss salads. There is even a term for it. "Son-mat" simply means taste of hands. Koreans believe that everyone has different "son-mat" meaning everyone's food taste different. The "son-mat" develops as one ages, hence, moms' food will always taste better because of the developed "son-mat". With this being said, make sure to use your clean hands to fully experience the taste of Korean cuisine.
The spicy sauce makes about 1 cup which serves about 4-6 persons. Making the sauce a night before, or even a couple of hours before, making this salad will yield to even better result. Feel free to use any kinds of veggies like cucumbers, carrots, baby lettuce, onions, etc.
Mix all the sauce ingredients together, cover, and keep it in the refrigerator until use. Add more tahini if too spicy.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook dry buckwheat noodles according to package instructions.
While noodles are being cooked, cut the carrot, cucumber, and red onion into matchsticks (or julienne) and place them in a large mixing bowl. Add baby lettuce (or any other kind of leafy green vegetables) into the bowl.
When the noodles are ready, drain and rinse with cold water.
Gently fold in the noodles with the Gochujang sauce. Using your hands, mix everything together.