The fermented Korean chili paste known as Gochujang gives this traditional cold buckwheat noodle salad a sweet, spicy, and deeply savory kick which is offset beautifully by sweet Asian pear and grated carrot, crisp red bell pepper, cool cucumber, and earthy swiss chard.
For the salad:
- 17.5 ounces buckwheat soba noodles (6 bundles)
- 1 Asian pear, grated
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 2 medium red bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 large Japanese cucumber, peeled and cut into thin strips
- 3 large stalks of rainbow swiss chard, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup Kimchi, thinly sliced
For the sauce:
- 5 tablespoons gochujang
- 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon sesame oil
- 5 radishes, thinly sliced, for garnish
- Shaved scallions, for garnish (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a hard boil and cook the soba noodles, stirring often, until al dente, just about 3 minutes. Quickly strain and rinse in cold water until cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled soba with the rest of the salad ingredients.
Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in a blender or bowl and mix thoroughly then add to the soba salad and mix and massage the sauce into the salad until well dressed. Chill thoroughly before serving and garnish with thinly sliced radish and shaved scallion if desired. Alternatively, arrange the soba noodles and salad components artfully in a bowl and add the sauce just before serving. Any remaining soba noodles will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.