FLAVOUR

author
RADHIKA DHARIWAL Owner of Delhi-based cocktail bar, PCO, and private member’s club and restaurant, A Ta Maison (ATM).
She is also a children’s book author.
WHAT TO TRY SOON? SOONDOBU JIGGAE

Over the past year Korean food has become one of the trendiest cuisines and has gained much favour with adventurous diners from New York to London to Hong Kong. What is more, Korean food seems to be much more than just succulent meat barbecues and kimchi rolls. Particularly, one traditional, home-style dish that seems to have taken the world by storm is the rustic, spicy soft tofu stew, Soondobu Jiggae. This robust dish, which gets its heat from red & green chillies, Korean hot pepper flakes, black pepper and garlic, is balanced with chunks of silken tofu which give the stew a beautiful, smooth texture which yields a spicy, velvety mouthful. Healthy and wholesome, each piece of piping hot tofu is a pillow of spice and flavour on the tongue. Moreover, this tofu stew serves as a base that chefs can spin off in any way they like. In New York, popular BCD Tofu House does an earthy and bold Soondobu Jiggae with beef and pork. In her London & Hong Kong restaurants JinJuu, Iron Chef Judy Joo does a comforting spin with mushrooms, cabbage and zucchini. And newly opened Ping’s Cafe Orient in New Delhi does a spicy version with cilantro and scallions. Funnily enough, this hot soup goes down well in the summer as well as the winter. Just pair it with a bowl of sticky rice and an ice cold beer for some real fun on the tongue!

RA RA FOR RAMEN

For the past few years, Ramen has come of age across the world. From Hong Kong to New York, tucked away hole-in-the wall restaurants have been creating fresh and innovative twists on the signature dish - a bowl of piping hot noodle soup. For instance, Australian Chef Sam Miller of Silvereye is taking the traditional deep, dark broth with slick black garlic oil, scallions and bean sprouts for crunch, and replacing the tender caramelized pork belly with ox tongue and smoked eel to heighten the intensity of the dish and to add a fresh dimension to the savory broth. Chef Luke Reyes from LA has recently started serving a very popular vegan ramen with roasted squash, braised black kale and charred garlic sauce with gluten-free noodles. And, at his recently opened Momosan Ramen on Lexington Avenue in New York City, Iron Chef Morimoto has created a version of Ramen noodles, using Sun noodles, that do not become “Nobiru”, or soft and soggy, as they marinate in the broth. So, despite David Chang’s (of Momofuku Noodle bar fame) declaration that “Ramen is Dead”, it seems that the ramen is much more than a passing trend. Instead, it sure seems as though this dish, with its slurpy goodness, the warm, brothy bounce of the noodles, and of course the toppings and trimmings to boot, is very much here to stay.

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