Sunday, December 7, 2008
Dang myun is the Korean noodle made of sweet potato starch. Dang myun’s a flavor chameleon, though it has no taste of its own, it takes on the flavor of whatever sauce it’s in. It turns a beautiful crystal clear once it’s cooked. And it has a wonderful texture, both chewy and slippery, it slides right down.
The closure of my very favorite Korean restaurant, which happens to be the same traumatic event that drove me to recreate their bibimbap, prompted my first experiments with dang myun. I had eaten their bulgogi, the familiar version served on a sizzle platter, countless times. But one day I ordered the bulgogi, and what arrived was entirely different, a saucy dish of tender beef stewed with plenty of onions and those clear, slippery noodles. It took some gentle prodding, the waitress insisted she didn’t know what the noodles were called in English, but she eventually divulged the Korean word. I went to the market directly and bought a bag.
Beef with Dang Myun
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
Freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ pounds thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs
8 ounces dang myun
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, julienned
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
Combine the soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, and a generous pinch of pepper in a medium bowl. Add the beef and stir to coat. Marinate for about half an hour. Meanwhile, cook the dang myun in a large pot of boiling water for 6 to 7 minutes, or until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, and drain again.
Heat a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until beginning to soften. Add the beef and green onions and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the beef is just cooked through. Add the noodles and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they take on the color of the sauce and are heated through. Stir in the sesame seeds and sesame oil. Divide among individual noodle bowls and serve immediately.
Serves 4. When boiling dang myun noodles, don’t overcook them—keep in mind that they are still very chewy even when they are cooked through. Dang myun is available in Korean markets. Do not confuse dang myun with rice noodles or bean thread noodles.