I have a problem with watching Korean movies. Most of the time I end up with a deep craving for some kind of ramen or jigae after watching the actors slurping down the food.
I recently watched Parasite, Bong Joon Ho’s 4 Oscar winning movie. Most of the time, truth to tell, I catch up on movies on airplane flights but I caught this movie in the theater firstly because I was getting a little cabin fever (there’s only so much social isolation I can take) and also because I wanted to watch the movie that made Donald Trump unhappy simply because a foreign language film won Best Picture at the Oscars. So I watched the movie at Jewel’s Lumiere cinema with friend J who came fully prepared with blankets and snacks (according to her the only way to watch movies). There were only 4 people in the cinema which was not a bad thing since we aren’t supposed to be hanging around crowded places nowadays thanks to Covid19.
So there you go – it was a great movie, although I think I’m traumatized by the thought of home invaders, and I still have ghastly flashbacks of the scary eyes of Geun-Sae rising up from the cellar. But the movie really intrigued me about “Ramdon”. Apparently the director decided to merge ramen and udon into this awkward dish. The premium sirloin paired with plebeian instant noodles was a subtle reference of the thoughtless wealth in contrast with the commonplace and poor.
Panicky sirloin chopping scene with the Parks on the way home in 8 minutes and expecting a ramdon dinner.
I confess that my 2 favorite korean noodle flavours were chapaghetti and spicy neoguri noodles. Chapaghetti is actually Korean black bean noodles (inspired no doubt by Chinese zha jiang mian). And of course I loved the spicy seafood flavours of the neoguri udon. But then once I went low carb all these noodles went out of the window for me. I think the movie triggered off lots of memories and I really wanted to see if I could recreate a low carb version of the noodles.
The truth is that I could have tossed the spice packets of a packet of nongshim chapaghetti and a packet of neoguri but I really wanted to do sometime from scratch (at least to honor the good quality sirloin that I had bought)! Remember all those grandmother-type nagging we would get about how eating instant noodles would make our hair drop out? Well I figured I would do a healthy noodle with fresh ingredients and condiments instead.
So I apologise for the many ingredients and steps in this recipe – I was trying to create a food memory and this seemed to nail the flavours in my mind. The one thing I had to hunt down was the Korean black bean paste (chunjang) which should be available in Korean groceries.
It took longer than the 8 minutes that the movie ramdon did, but I think it was really worth the longer cook! The family swears it does taste like the original jajiangmyun with spicy overtones. Mission accomplished!
Low Carb Ramdon
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 400g sirloin steak, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 150g daikon, peeled and cubed
- 150g zucchini, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 10 button mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 sprig of spring onions, only white part chopped
- 2 tbsp dried chili flakes
- 5 tbsp Korean black bean paste
- 2 tbsp sugar substitute
- 1 tsp clam seasoning (optional)
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 3 tbsp oil (I used peanut oil)
- 1/2 cucumber, julienned into matchsticks
- Shirataki noodles (washed, drained and dry fried in a non-stick pan if using the type with lime water).
- Marinate the beef with the beef marinade for at least 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Heat up the oil in a large skillet or wok on medium heat. Stir fry the chilli flakes, garlic and chopped spring onions for about 1 minute, being careful not to burn this.
- Add the black bean paste and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes. Push this to the side of the pan and add daikon and onions and stir fry for 2 minutes, then add the zucchini and stir fry, this time mixing all the black bean paste together with the vegetables.
- Add the sirloin and continue to stir fry for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and water and the sugar substitute, clam seasoning and fish sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and simmer for another 2-3 more minutes.
- Turn the heat up and add the xanthan gum and stir the sauce vigorously for another 3 – 4 minutes and the sauce will thicken up.
- Ladle the stew on top of the shirataki noodles and garnish with a handful of julienned fresh cucumber. Serve hot.
Everything looked satisfyingly black when mixed up together!