Vegetarian Friendly: Quick and Easy Kong Guksoo for Summer

Too hot to cook or just plain don’t want to but still want a quick, healthy meal? No problem! If you have a block of tofu and a handful of nuts, you already have half the ingredients for a refreshingly delicious noodle dish that’s a fan favorite among Koreans. Not as popular as mul naeng myun, but just as satisfying, in my opinion.

I first started making this dish in honor of my mom who used to love eating it when I was growing up. Granted, it ranked fairly low on the yummy meter for me as a kid, mainly because i just wanted to eat burgers and fries like everyone else. I didn’t really appreciate it back then, but now, I honestly can’t stop slurping up every last drop. It just puts a smile on my face like it did for my mom back then (and still does to this day).

The best part about this reinvented recipe is that it’s so easy to make. My mom used to do it the old-fashioned way which required soaking the soybeans overnight, then boiling, shelling and grinding them down. But not to worry, my way is super easy and not as labor intensive. So, you ready to give it a try?

Kong Guksoo Recipe

Prep Time: 15 – 20 mins

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

Half a block of firm tofu (can be blanched first in hot water if desired)
1 cup of milk (can substitute almond or soy milk)
1 Tbsp of sesame seeds
A handful of pine nuts and almonds (can substitute cashews or pecans if desperate)
Salt to taste
Somen noodles
2-3 small cucumbers julienned
3-4 cherry tomatoes, halved
Black sesame seeds for garnishing (optional)

Blend the first five ingredients until it becomes smooth. The sauce should be runny, not paste-like, else you may need to add water to loosen it up. Promptly chill in fridge (can make in advance if you prefer) while boiling the noodles, which takes 4-5 minutes (Okay, yes, I fibbed a little. Some cooking is required if you consider boiling noodles “cooking”). Pour a few drops of cold water in the pot when the noodles boil over for chewier noodles. Once cooked, rinse thoroughly in cold water and drain.

Arrange the noodles in a bowl and pour the chilled sauce over it. Add cucumbers, tomatoes and sesame seeds on top as garnish. And, I almost forgot the most important ingredient – ice cubes! Be sure to add one or two ice cubes to the bowl for an extra refreshing meal.

Enjoy the noodle dish by itself or pair it with kimchi and grilled steak on the side. Masitgae deuseyo! (Bon appetit in Korean)

Linda Chung is an attorney by trade and soccer wife/mom by any other name.  She resides in the Twin Cities with her husband, David, and her two boys, Noah and Benjamin.  She also owns a lot of purses and likes to go on long walks with her buddy, Trevor, daily.

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