First time we tried golbaengi-muchim, I knew we had to recreate it. This unique blend of spicy and sweet only from this Korean dish will haunt you and make you crave it until you make it!
What is Golbaengi-muchim?
Golbaengi-muchim (골뱅이무침) or moon snail salad is a type of muchim (salad) made by mixing moon snails with vegetables. Moon snail is also known as sea whelk and sea snail.
With its bright red colour (looks like an absolute tongue burner) and unidentifiable moon snails (the horror!), this dish might look a little daunting to the uninitiated at first.
But once we’ve tried it, not only did it not burn any tongues, the spice was well balanced by the sweet undertones from the sauce and chunks of sea whelk.
As for the sea whelk, well, this is where the metaphorical phrase of not judging a book by its cover should be applied because while these chunks of brown are honestly not the prettiest of seafood around and you’d imagined them to be plain and taste like cardboard, they actually taste JUICY, SWEET AND PERFECTLY CHEWY!
Golbaengi sea whelk is available at geonbae.com.
Ingredients you’ll need
The best thing about this dish is you can adjust the spiciness, sweetness, tanginess up to your liking.
- Canned whelks – These springy, chewy sea snails are the star of the show today. Just a quick rinse under water and they’re ready to use! This recipe can also be substituted with cooked mussels, clams, or scallops.
- Vegetables – Use vegetables that provide crunch like cucumber, carrot, onion. We even used an apple for the sweetness.
- Gochujang – This thick and spicy-sweet paste made from fermenting chilli pepper flakes, glutinous rice, soybeans and salt is what makes this dish shine. The hot spicy sauce from the dish that coats your tongue can be neutralized with cold beer or soju.
- Gochugaru – Up the spice level with gochugaru, hot chilli pepper flakes!
- Honey – Honey plays an important supporting role to this spicy dish, relieving us from just stabs of pain from the spice. Sugar might work, just make sure to mix thoroughly to dissolve it.
- Vinegar – White or apple vinegar will work
- Salt, sesame oil, garlic, green onion – The usual essentials
- Somyeon (aka somen) – With the flavour bombs going on from the whelks and the spice, somen acts as a filler and a calming wave of sanity, before you dig into the next mouthful
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to make Spicy Korean Moon Snail Salad with Somyeon
- Prepare the whelks. Open the can and rinse the whelks in cold water.
- Prepare the vegetables. Slice cucumber, carrot/apple and onion into thin slices. Add salt and set aside. The water will come out from the vegetables, making it crunchier later.
- Prepare sauce. Mix gochugaru, gochujang, vinegar, honey, sugar, sesame oil, minced garlic, chilli pepper and green onion stalks together.
- Squeeze the water out of the vegetables and add them to the sauce, together with the whelks. Mix well.
- Cook the somyeon. Boil water and cook the noodles with the lid open. The noodles are ready when they taste chewy. Pour them into a strainer and rinse under cold running water. This should be your last step.
- Plate the noodles and pour the sauce with whelk over. Serve with alcohol!
How to enjoy golbaengi-muchim
Entertain with ease, thanks to this crowd-pleasing dish. Serve with drinks and you’ll be crowned Best Host of the Year.
Golbaengi-muchim can be had on its own or do it the Korean way and served with a simple banchan, like Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim) 오이무침.
- Mechurial Jangjorim (Soy Braised Quail Eggs) 메추리알 장조림
- 5-Minute Sigeumchi Namul (Spinach Side Dish) 시금치나물
- Pan-fried Zucchini (호박전 Hobak Jeon)
- Kongnamul muchim (Seasoned Bean Sprouts) 콩나물 무침
Preparation and storage tips
If you’d like to prepare this dish beforehand, keep the cooked noodles, ingredients and sauce separately in air tight containers. Be extra careful with the noodles as they get hard and stick together when left in the open. Mix just before serving, or let your guests have fun mixing this dish themselves!
Once the noodles and sauce have been mixed together, it is not recommended to store leftovers for more than a few hours as the vegetables will release more water and the noodles turn soggy from the sauce.Print