Chilled Soba Noodles with Gochujang Dressing

Chilled Soba with Gochujang Dressing

A refreshing summer meal for one.

Thankfully it’s cooled down a bit in recent weeks, but while summer is still here (and you’d rather not use the oven), turn to this spicy-sweet-tangy cold noodle dish that comes together in 20 minutes.

In Korean, we call this combination of flavors mehcom-dalcom-sehcom. Many Korean dishes naturally combine two or more of these taste elements: Think of the spicy-sweet sauce in ddukbokki (spicy stir-fried rice cakes, also spelled tteok-bokki) or the sour-sweet broth in mul naengmyeon (Korean cold noodle soup).

This chilled soba with gochujang dressing was inspired by my mom, who uses a very simple ratio-driven recipe for the sauce. Gochujang is a staple in Korean cooking – the iconic red chili paste can be found in small plastic tubs in Asian supermarkets. Its umami spice laced with a touch of sweetness contributes immense flavor to marinades and stir-fry dishes. Soba noodles are made with buckwheat flour, giving them a characteristically darker hue, though many commercial brands include wheat flour in the ingredients as well.

I tweaked my mom’s recipe and added a few supporting ingredients like mirin and sesame oil that contribute roundness and depth to the flavor profile. The gochujang-based dressing definitely has both tang and heat: Adjust the proportions as desired. Serve the chilled noodles with toppings such as a jammy egg, sesame seeds, kimchi or nori strips (or whatever you can find in your fridge!). You can even make the sauce in bulk and store it in the fridge for a few weeks, for whenever the craving – and laziness – strike. This dish is the definition of low effort-high reward, and makes for a refreshing and satisfying summer meal for one.

Gochujang soba


Chilled Soba with Gochujang Dressing

Yields 1 serving


  • 1 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean red chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or Korean apple vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mirin
  • Sesame oil
  • Toppings of choice (such as kimchi, yellow pickled daikon radish, diced green onions, soft-boiled egg or roasted sesame seeds)
  • 1 bundle (2 ounces) dry soba noodles


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together gochujang, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, mirin and a drizzle of sesame oil until combined. Taste dressing and adjust based on your preference (as written, it’s a mix of spicy, tangy and sweet).
  2. In a small pot of boiling water, cook soba according to package instructions. Drain and immediately rinse noodles in cold water until chilled.
  3. In a bowl, toss cold noodles with gochujang dressing until evenly coated. Depending on how strong you prefer the flavors, you may not use all of the sauce.
  4. Top noodles with ingredients of choice and serve.
  5. Store any leftover dressing in an airtight container for up to a few weeks. It will become even more flavorful over time.

Study global cuisine in ICE's Culinary Arts program.

Add new comment