A few years ago, when I taught a cooking class at Whole Foods in New York, golbaengi-muchim was one of the recipes on the menu. After finishing the class, I asked them which dish was the most delicious and the one they wanted to make as soon as they went home. Golbaengi-muchim came in second on next to Korean grilled beef ribs (LA galbi). I didn’t expect this dish to be so popular with my students, but it always is.
You can get a can of golbaengi (whelks) at a Korean grocery store, but if it’s not available in your area, you can replace it with any of your favorite seafoods: clams, mussels, scallops, or shrimps. You can serve this as a side dish to rice or noodles, and it’s also good party food. Make it ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. When your guests come, cook the noodles. When you’re ready to eat, place the noodles on a large plate and add golbaengi-muchim over top and sprinkle some sesame seeds. They’ll love it.
Are you going to a potluck party and you’re thinking about making this dish? Yes, that’s a great idea because it will be the most popular dish there! I once brought this to a potluck party in a park. I made sure my golbaengi-muchim, cooked noodles, disposable plastic gloves, sesame seeds, and a large plate were all kept separate. Carrying these 5 things separately is very important, because it keeps them fresh and delicious, and you’ll get lots of attention from the people at the party when you prepare it! When everybody was ready to eat, I put the plate on the table and added the noodles and golbaengi-muchim on top, and sprinkled sesame seeds.
I’m looking forward to hearing your golbaengi-muchim story! : )
Whelk (sea snail), cucumber, carrot, onion, green onions, garlic, green chili pepper, red chili pepper, kosher salt, hot pepper flakes, hot pepper paste, honey, sugar, toasted sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, noodles.
Directions (for 4 servings)
Cooking time: 30 mins
- Rinse a can of whelks (golbaengi) in cold water, drain, and cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
- Put these vegetables into a bowl mixed with 1 ts kosher salt and set aside:
- Slice 1 Kirby cucumber into thin strips (1½ cup worth)
- Slice ½ cup worth of carrot into thin strips
- Slice ½ cup worth of onion thinly
Let’s make sweet sour spicy sauce in a bowl:
- Mix ¼ cup hot pepper paste, 2 tbs hot pepper flakes, 2 tbs vinegar, 1 tbs honey, 1 ts sugar, 1 tbs toasted sesame oil, and 2 cloves minced garlic.
- Add 1 chopped green, 1 red chili pepper, and 2 stalks of chopped green onion to the sauce.
*tip: Adjust the amount of hot pepper flakes or hot pepper paste to your taste. If you don’t like spicy food, skip them both and use soy sauce
- Boil water in a large pot for the noodles.
- Squeeze the excess water out of the vegetables and add to the sauce in the bowl.
- Add the whelks to the bowl and mix well with a spoon.
- Spread out about 3 oz (84 grams) noodles in the pot of boiling water. Stir them with a spoon to prevent them from sticking together. Close the lid.
- A few minutes later, they’ll start boiling over. Open the lid and stir the noodles. Cook a few minutes more with the lid open until they are cooked well.
*tip: You can tell if they are cooked enough by taking a sample. The noodles are very hot, so add a few noodles to a small bowl filled with cold water to let them cool down before tasting. The noodles should be chewy and soft when you chew them.
- When the noodles are cooked, rinse them in cold water couple of times,strain them, and set aside. The noodles will expand and lose their chewiness as time passes, so the last step of preparing this dish is always cooking the noodles.
- Place the cooked noodles on a large plate and then ladle the spicy whelk over the noodles.
- Sprinkle 1 tbs roasted sesame seeds on top and serve.