Cold Soba Noodles with Perilla Oil (Memil Guksu)

Difficulty Easy

An easy summer favorite: Cold Soba Noodles, also called Memil Guksu, tossed with Korean perilla oil! Fragrant and earthy perilla oil adds so much flavor to these simple cold noodles. Cook the noodles, drain the noodles, and then dress the noodles! A great main dish with a soft boiled egg. Or serve as an easy side with grilled meat.

Cold Soba Noodles with Perilla Oil (Memil Guksu)

When the weather gets hot, there’s nothing better than a bowl of Cold Soba Noodles! Also called Memil Guksu in Korean, these chewy and bouncy noodles are easy to prepare and taste good with a simple dressing. The thin noodles also take only a few minutes to cook.

I grew up eating Buckwheat Soba Noodles. In the summer, they were a frequent meal on hot sticky days. So cool and refreshing! The slurpy texture is everything!

To make it extra special, my recipe calls for Perilla Oil in the dressing. Although perilla oil may be hard to find, the earthy, nutty flavor is irresistible. A classic finishing oil in Korean cuisine, it is very fragrant and special. (*Swap with sesame oil if you can’t find it.)

More noodle recipes: Bibim Guksu, Soba Noodle Soup, and Spicy Soba Noodle Salad.

black bowl with buckwheat soba noodles with perilla oil and gim

Ingredients:

  • Buckwheat Soba Noodles. Japanese Soba Noodles or Korean Memil Guksu are thin, dark brown noodles made from buckwheat flour. Look for dried soba noodles at Asian grocery stores. But if you can find them, fresh soba noodles from the refrigerated aisle are spectacular in this dish.

*Buckwheat Soba noodles are also gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. Be sure to check the packaging, as some brands include small portions of wheat flour.

  • Perilla Oil. A special oil that comes from the roasted seeds of Korean perilla (Kkaennip) leaves and contains many health benefits. Also called Deulgireum, it’s fragrant, earthy, and nutty tasting. (If you can’t find it, swap with sesame oil.)
  • Soy sauce. The salty, umami-rich element.
  • Sugar. Balances all the other flavors.
  • Green Onions. Adds soft onion flavor and color.
  • Chili Pepper. Optional but adds a subtle spicy kick. I recommend Korean chilies, fresno chilies, or jalapenos.
  • Garnish. To complete the dish, add one entire package of crumbled roasted seaweed snack (Gim). Top with sesame seeds and a soft boiled egg!
Ingredients for Korean Soba Noodles with Perilla Oil

Instructions:

  1. Cook noodles. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. When the water is boiling, add noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse noodles with cold running water to remove excess starch.
  2. Make sauce. In a large bowl, add the soy sauce, perilla oil, sugar, green onion, and chili pepper (if using). Mix with a spoon and set aside.
  3. Dress noodles. Add chewy buckwheat noodles to the sauce and mix well.
  4. Enjoy. Divide noodles evenly between 2 bowls. Top each bowl with 1 package Roasted Seaweed Snack (Gim)! Garnish with sesame seeds and jammy egg. Enjoy!

Watch how to make it:

Pro Tips:

  • For extra chewy noodles: The Korean method for extra chewy noodles is to add a cup of cold water when the noodles come to a boil. And make sure to rinse well with cold water!
  • Do not overcook the noodles. Cook until al dente. The texture is everything! Set a time for 1 minute less than the package cooking directions and check for texture before draining.
  • Drain noodles well. Excess water can dilute the sauce.
  • Freeze chilies. To keep chilies on hand, I store them in the freezer. They freeze well and keep a long time that way. Store in a ziploc baggie in the freezer. Rest for 1-2 minutes at room temperature before slicing.
  • Add Gim right before serving. For best texture!

Variations:

  • Make it vegan. Don’t include an egg. The rest of the ingredients are vegan.
  • Add more vegetables. Some options: thinly sliced cucumber, shredded green or red cabbage, julienned carrot, chopped soft lettuce such as butter, gem, green or red.
  • Add more protein. Some options: shredded roasted chicken, leftover steak or roasted pork, cubed firm tofu.

FAQ:

How do I store Perilla Oil?

Perilla oil — similar to sesame oil — contains a high amount of healthy fatty acids and spoils easily. Store in the fridge where it should last about a year.

Can I use another type of noodle?

Yes, absolutely! The soy sauce and perilla seed oil taste good with a variety of noodles. Good substitutions: somyoen/somen (thin wheat noodle), ramen noodles, instant noodles (without the soup base), or even thick udon noodles. Make sure to drain and rinse well with cold water.

What else can I make with Perilla Oil?

Use Perilla Oil in Korean Pork Bone Soup (Gamjatang). Otherwise, use in place of sesame oil as a finishing ingredient or marinade. The flavor difference is subtle but deliciously complex and deep.

How do I store leftovers?

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It should stay good for 1-2 days. Surprisingly, leftovers taste good the following day, although the texture is slightly softer.

Serve with:

Enjoy this Cold Soba Noodle dish as a light meal, main dish, or side. As a main dish, serve with the soft boiled egg and crumbled Gim on top, as suggested.

Or, serve as a simple side (no eggs and gim) with veggies and protein of your choosing. I like to serve it with sauteed salmon and cucumber salad.

More serving suggestions:

buckwheat soba noodles in black bowl with chopsticks

Korean Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Perilla Oil (Memil Guksu)

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
An easy summer favorite: Cold Soba Noodles, also called Memil Guksu, tossed with Korean perilla oil! Fragrant and earthy perilla oil adds so much flavor to these simple cold noodles. Cook the noodles, drain the noodles, and then dress the noodles! A great main dish with a soft boiled egg. Or serve as an easy side with grilled meat.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 6 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine Korean
Servings 2
Calories 564 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Stock pot
  • 1 Large colander
  • 1 Large Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 200 grams Japanese Soba Noodles or Korean Memil Guksu
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Perilla oil (can be subbed with sesame oil)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1 chili pepper, minced (green, fresno, or jalapeno)

Garnish:

  • 2 packets roasted seaweed snack (Gim) 1 per serving
  • 2 soft boiled eggs 1 per serving
  • sprinkle sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • Cook noodles. Bring a large stock pot to boil over high heat. Add soba noodles/memil guksu and cook until cooked through but still slightly bouncy and chewy, about 5-6 minutes. (About 1 minute less than the package directions.) Drain, rinse in cold water, and set aside.
  • Make sauce. In a large bowl, combine sauce ingredients: soy sauce, perilla oil, sugar, green onions, and chili pepper. Mix with a spoon.
  • Dress noodles. Add cold, drained soba noodles to the sauce. Mix well with tongs, making sure the noodles are evenly coated.
  • Garnish. Divide noodles evenly between two bowls. Top each bowl with 1 package of roasted seaweed snack (gim), a soft boiled egg, and sprinkle of sesame seeds. Enjoy immediately!

Video

Notes

PRO Tips:
  • For extra chewy noodles: The Korean method for extra chewy noodles is to add a cup of cold water when the noodles come to a boil. And make sure to rinse well with cold water!
  • Do not overcook the noodles. The texture is everything! Set a time for 1 minute less than the package cooking directions and check for texture before draining.
  • Drain noodles well. Excess water can dilute the sauce.
  • Freeze chilies. To keep chilies on hand, I store them in the freezer. They freeze well and keep a long time that way. Store in a ziploc baggie in the freezer. Rest for 1-2 minutes at room temperature before slicing.
  • Add Gim right before serving. For best texture!
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Nutrition

Calories: 564kcalCarbohydrates: 81gProtein: 22gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 187mgSodium: 1361mgPotassium: 443mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 646IUVitamin C: 35mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Buckwheat Noodles, Memil Guksu, Perilla Oil, Soba
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15 minutes, All Recipes, Korean, Weeknight Meals

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