K – Noodles
When I was an intern in Siete in Lima they had a fabulous show stopper of a ribs dish on the menu. That recipe is top secret and I would never share, but here is a super simplified version that I came up with as a result of using the leftover sauce for stir-fries.
Low and slow simmered tomatoes infused with gochujang, chilies, oyster sauce and saké. I started calling these K-Noodles because of the gochujang and the name stuck, but they’re not truly Korean – more of an Asia Market pastiche. ( I hope this title doesn’t offend anyone! I just thought it sounded catchy and fun and was a nod to the gochujang, and like K-Pop, K-Noodles? Anyway…)
This sauce is very versatile. Most often I use beef and broccoli, but you could use anything you like – chicken, prawns, finely sliced pork, or if you want a vegetarian version sautéed mushrooms or aubergines work well. Some shredded cabbage is another lovely addition if you want to increase your fibre intake. My favourite noodles for this dish are handcut Taiwanese noodles because I love the texture, but Udon noodles are a close second and again, whatever you feel like – rice noodles and egg noodles would also be good choices.
Ingredient note : chili garlic sauce is a straightforward, non-fermented, medium spicy hot sauce. I like the Lee Kum Kee brand which is available in some supermarkets and all Asian markets.
This recipe yields enough sauce for 2 stir fries that each serve 4 – 6 people, depending on hunger levels. I make a batch and freeze half for another day. The sauce keeps well in the freezer for up to three months.
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
75g chili garlic
40g soft dark brown sugar
75g oyster sauce
2 medium white onions
180g tenderstem broccoli
300g sirloin steak
400g noodles of choice
black and white sesame seeds for garnish, optional
neutral oil, for frying – sunflower or vegetable
In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan heat 1 tsp oil and add the finely chopped garlic. Allow to sizzle for a moment and then add the chopped tomatoes. (Rinse out the can after with 100ml of water and add this liquid to the pan.) Allow to simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have cooked and darkened in colour and you can no longer taste any raw garlic.
Add the saké, chili garlic, soft dark brown sugar, oyster sauce and gochujang and leave to simmer, stirring frequently while you make the rest.
Put on a large pot of water to boil, for the noodles.
Prep the veg. Peel the onions and slice finely.
Chop the tender stem broccoli in half lengthwise (if the stalks are too thick they will take too long to cook).
Finely slice the steak.
Heat a large wok over high heat and add the steak pieces, cook, stirring frequently and remove to a side plate. ( I don’t use oil for this stage as the steak has enough fat to begin with).
Add the onions to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until they have reduced and darkened. Add the broccoli, and other vegetables if using, and cook.
Cook the noodles at this stage – according to packet instructions.
Return the beef to the pan, remove the noodles with a spider and put directly into the wok, and add half of the sauce. Toss to combine, garnish with toasted sesame seeds if using, and serve immediately.