Kongguksu (Chilled Soy Milk Noodle Soup)

(Photo updated August 2013)
Here is another terrific noodle dish that is perfect for hot summer days! Kongguksu is a dish in which noodles are served in savory soy milk. Back when I was a little kid in a small town in Korea, there was a lady who went around our neighborhood door to door selling freshly made kongguksu. I will never forget how skillfully she carried a big container of cold soy milk on her head holding it with one hand, while carrying a basket containing mounds of cooked noodles in the other. A bowl of her refreshing kongguksu was always such a nice treat in the summertime. I can only imagine how much my mother appreciated this lady since she would get a break from cooking and still be able to feed her family a delicious and healthy summer meal. Those good old days are gone, but kongguksu has remained as my family’s summer favorite. My mother still makes kongguksu quite often every summer. A few days ago, she called and told me to pick up some soy milk she had made. (I am 50 some years old – oops now you know, but my mother still feels that she needs to take care of me. How lucky am I!) I just had to cook some noodles and add the garnish to enjoy it for lunch next day.

Making soy milk is less work than you might imagine. Soaked soybeans are cooked, then pureed and filtered through a sieve. The key to making delicious soy milk for kongguksu is not to overcook the beans so that they retain their natural flavor. More often than not, a small amount of sesame seeds and/or nuts (such as pine nuts, peanuts, almonds, and walnuts) are pureed with the soybeans for an extra-nutty flavor. Last summer, I posted my recipe for kongguksu using black soybeans and peanuts. This recipe uses yellow soybeans and pine nuts. Either way, the result is creamy soy milk with a delicate nutty flavor. It is delightful and refreshing!

(Photo updated August 2013)

4 servings
Ingredients:

1 cup dried soybeans (meju kong)
4 tablespoons roasted pine nuts (or any other nuts of your choosing)
2 teaspoons roasted sesame seeds (more for garnish)
salt to taste
1 small Kirby (pickling) cucumber, julienned
1 small tomato, sliced (or watermelon) – optional
somyeon/somen  (thin wheat flour noodles) – about 4 ounces per serving


Rinse and soak 1 cup dried soybeans for 5 to 6 hours or overnight. (Yields about 2 to 2 1/4 cups soaked beans.)

Place the beans in a pot. Add enough water to cover the beans. Bring it to a boil over medium high heat, and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Drain and place the beans in cold water to cool. Rub the beans with your fingers to remove the skins. Pour out the skins that rise to the top. Add more water. Repeat this process to remove as much as possible.

In a blender, puree 1/2 of the cooked beans, 2 tablespoons of nuts, and a teaspoon of sesame seeds, if using, in about 2 cups of cold water as fine as you can. (The finer it is, the creamier the result will be.) Repeat with the remaining beans. Add water (no more than a cup) to adjust the thickness of the liquid.

Run the puree through a fine strainer for a smooth milk-like texture, stirring with a spoon to force it through. (This step is optional.)

Lightly salt to taste. Stir well. Refrigerate to chill.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook somyeon noodles according to the package instructions (about 3 minutes). Drain quickly and shock in cold water to stop cooking. Drain again and rinse in icy cold water. Make serving size mounds. Place the mounds in a colander to drain.

Stir up the solids settled on the bottom of the soy milk and pour over the noodles in a serving bowl. Garnish with the julienned cucumbers, tomato pieces and/or sesame seeds. Drop in a few ice cubes and serve very cold.

Any leftover soy milk can be refrigerated for 2 – 3 days.

(Original photo)
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Comments

  1. Wow, I’ve never imagined how soy milk is made. How sweet of your mom to still make it for you to enjoy.

  2. What an interesting dish! This is new to me but it sure sounds good. I like anything soy.

  3. I never had this before! Must try it… thanks for sharing.

  4. looks great, mom!

  5. This post makes me consider making soy milk. I’m not sure I’ll do it but it looks like fun.

  6. Wow! This is so new to me. I love anything soy but I’ve never seen or tasted anything like this. Yes, you are lucky that your mother still wants to “feed” you at 50 LOL Wish I was so lucky!

  7. I must make this! One of my favorites (= Your korean cooking is amazing!

  8. Lisa – Thank you for the nice words. It is definitely one of my favorite summer dishes. Good to see you here!

  9. Oooo, I sure could a whole bowl of that on a hot day like today in Savannah! Looks great, Hyosun!

  10. I’ve been following your blog for a while and I really do think you’re one of the best korean food bloggers out there! Great stuff and lovely pictures as well. I’m definitely going to try some of your recipes out, especially the kimchi jeon and the kongguksu!!!

  11. Thank you for your wonderful blog and recipes! This recipe was delicious and refreshing. I’ve been on a health kick lately and Korean food is healthy and tasty!

    • Hi Amy – I’m so happy to hear it turned out well for you. I’ve been having this quite often lately, but never get tired of it. Thanks for taking the time to write me. Cheers!

  12. My mom used to make this when I was younger but I never got a chance to get the recipe from her – can’t wait to give this a try!

  13. OMG! I already love this one, even if I haven’t made it yet. – I’m Italian, then I can’t find that kinda noodles, anyway I can use vermicelli. Are bifun and shirataki OK too?

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