Kong-guksu is a refreshing, cold soy milk noodle soup that is often served in the summertime. When I say soy milk, I don’t mean the kind you get in the box at the grocery store. Although the concept is similar, this wholesome, creamy soup is entirely different in consistency and flavor. Dried soybeans are soaked, cooked, pureed with a little water, and can also be strained. I like it best when the milk is thick, with a fine grit that tells you that you’re consuming the protein-rich, fibrous beans in all their nutty glory. There are no gums, thickeners, or additives; a little sea salt is all that’s needed. Gomo carefully chooses ingredients like black sesame seeds, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, or watermelon to beautifully arrange atop each bowl. Typically, thin wheat-based noodles are served with this soup, but I find buckwheat noodles are also a delicious alternative. Kong-guksu is a simple dish, with origins believed to date back to the Joseon dynasty, and written records of it have been found from the 1800s. This hearty, nutritious noodle soup is a staple in the swelteringly hot and humid Korean summers.
Yield: 4 servings
Soybeans, dried 200 g
Water, for blending 900 g
Korean Noodles* 450 g
Sea Salt to taste
*Traditionally thin wheat noodles, but buckwheat noodles are a nice alternative
Black sesame seeds, julienned cucumber, halved hard-boiled eggs, sliced watermelon, and/or grape tomatoes are wonderful, but optional toppings.
1. Rinse the dry soybeans under cool water. Place in a bowl and cover with water to soak for 5 hours or overnight.
2. Drain and rinse soybeans, removing any loose skins that arise.
3. Transfer soybeans to a pot with about 1000ml of water. Bring to a boil, tending to the pot so as not to overcook or boil over. Cook at a boil, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for a few more minutes, until the soybeans (when tested) are firm, but fully cooked.
5. Drain and rinse soybeans in cool water. If any more loose skins arise, toss these as well.
6. In a food processor or blender, puree together half the cooked beans and half of the cool water (450g). Process until the liquid is smooth; it will be thick. If it becomes too thick to process, you can add more cool water, but no more than 220g.
7. Transfer to large container or bowl. Repeat the process with the rest of the beans and water (450g).
8. At this point you can refrigerate the milk until cold and stir before serving.
9. Otherwise, cook noodles, strain, and rinse in cool water.
10. Evenly distribute the soup and noodles into 4 bowls. Top with optional garnish and a few ice cubes. Serve with sea salt for people to add to their taste.