Monday is a good day for culinary experimentation and today is no exception. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted for lunch, but I did have a hankering for some 칼국수 (knife cut noodles). So I popped down to the local supermarket and improvised. What follows is a fusion of South Asian curry and Korean noodle goodness. Something a little bit different...
Coconut Curry 칼국수
Serves two hungry ajosshis
One two portion pack of fresh 칼국수 noodles (readily available at supermarkets)
As much steak as you can afford (cut into thin strips)
One cup of chicken stock
Four dried wild mushrooms (soaked in boiling water for twenty minutes, then chopped finely)
Half a can of coconut milk
Three cloves of garlic (crushed)
One thumb of ginger (grated)
One small head of broccolli (chopped into bitesize pieces)
Four small bok choi (separated into leaves)
A large fistful of beansprouts
Half an aubergine (sliced lengthwise)
One teaspoon of mustard seeds
One teaspoon of garam masala
Half teaspoon of cumin powder
Half teaspoon of coriander powder
Quarter teaspoon of turmeric
One teaspoon of soy sauce
One teaspoon of seafood powder (no MSG or chemicals. 100% natural)
One teaspoon of chili powder
Sugar, salt and black pepper to taste
Fry the steak strips with a little olive oil until browned and beautiful in a wok or deep pan. Transfer to a dish and look at them fondly
In the same pan fry off the aubergines (and mustard seeds) in a little more oil, let them take a little colour then add the garlic, ginger, mushrooms, garam masala, cumin, coriander and turmeric. Add a little water if needed to stop everything from burning.
After a minute or so dump in the chicken stock and the mushroom water (plenty of flavour in there). Bring to the boil, add the coconut milk and top up with boiling water according to how soupy you like your noodles.
Throw in the noodles and let them cook through (my packet said five to six minutes). Toss in the soy sauce, seafood powder and chili powder. Add any other seasonings you fancy.
When the noodles are almost done put the bok choi, broccolli, steak and beansprouts into the pan. Let the whole mix cook for another minute or so and then serve.
Fresh coriander and lemon juice are welcome additions...
I used European dried wild mushrooms, but Korean dried oak mushrooms will work just as well. You can replace the steak with pork, chicken or seafood and you can use any kind of stock you like (but do try to make your own).
Seafood powder on the left, Waitrose's very own wild mushrooms on the right.
The seafood powder is known as 해물조미료 (or 해물다시다). We use the 산들애 brand (with bonus cute bunny on the packet). It adds an extra kick to both Korean and foreign dishes and is well worth picking up from the shops. Just make sure whichever brand you buy is chemical free.
Any noodles will work with this dish, but there's something so satisfying about the thick knife cut noodles that makes this perfect comfort food.