10 June 2011


It's times like yesterday that I'm eternally grateful to have a well-stocked kitchen. It was hotter than the seven hells yesterday, and I sincerely did not feel like getting into an elaborate cooking thing. I felt like my body was going to melt into a puddle on the floor. I felt my hydration levels dropping ever lower on the walk home. I could feel the throbbing, pulsing heat rising up from the concrete sidewalk, as I manfully marched on, past the people sitting outside, fanning themselves in a futile attempt to battle the pressing humidity and heat.

It's been a few years since we moved up to New York, and it has made me less tolerant of heat in general, but yesterday would have been unbearable by anyone's standards. I got home, and decided on cold noodles. Yes, I would definitely be having rice later on, but for now, I needed to cool myself off.

That morning, I had thrown a piece of kombu (dried kelp) and a small handful of shiitake mushrooms (dried and sliced) into a couple of litres of water. Unlike boiling, this produces a light sort of broth that you can use as a cold soup base. I cooked up a couple of servings of noodles. Somen noodles (the really thin ones) are ideal, but you can use whatever you have. It'll turn out just fine.

I also had a fair bit of kimchi that my brother had sent me home with the last time I visited him in DC. I made a quick sauce with an apple, some sesame oil (just a few drops; a little goes a long way), five or six thai chiles, garlic, ginger, onion, some soy sauce, and some of that kombu broth I'd made. The sauce was spicy and tasty.

Once the noodles were boiled, I rinsed them off under cold running water. I topped them with julienned zucchini, the sauce, some kimchi, some of the water from the kimchi, and the iced broth. It was incredibly refreshing.

What was even more refreshing was the air conditioner. Let's be honest, it really was that hot.