SEOUL, AND CHICKEN GALBI RAMEN

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THANK YOU, SEOUL, FOR CARRYING THIS LIMP SPIRIT THROUGH ITS STREETS, FEEDING HER WITH NOURISHMENT, GIVING HER SUNLIGHTS.

So, 7 days went fast.  And we’re back.

This past week, instead of a “vacation”, was really closer to being on a emotional exile.  After two years of relentless, losing battles against too much realities, I just wanted, no, needed to be casted away, to somewhere unfamiliar, string-less… without memories, where I don’t have to… function.  Where I could just drift.  If only for a little bit.  So in a sense, it isn’t really fair, to the city that happened to be used as my emotional rebound.  Seoul.

We spent two days in Seoul following Hong Kong (which was more like a business trip for Jason).  It was, without saying, not nearly enough time to properly court a great city so rich and immersed in its cultures and cuisines, let alone in a state of mind that was… exhausted at best.  Normally, I attack my travels with mannerless enthusiasm, seeking if not prying for all it has to give whether or not it’s being offered.  But this time, I wasn’t really thinking about that, about work, the duty of a blogger, about the game.  I was wondering without thoughts.  If I saw something, I ate.  If I felt something, I took a photo.  At best, the memory was documented in loose fragments, then slowly pieced back together as I uploaded my mindlessness into digital form, computed at last .  So I’m not even going to pretend that I was capable of any profound insights, opinions, or even recommendations for Seoul.  I would not insult it like that.  Instead, this is a mirage of its potentials, not fully explored, but it lays the promise of future reunion.

But above all else, I should probably say thank you, to Seoul.  For carrying this limp spirit through its streets, even if only for a couple days, feeding her with nourishment, giving her sunlights, though at times, she stared blankly into space.  For that, I will always be grateful.

Oh and by the way, this chicken galbi thing it’s got?  Basically boneless thighs marinated in gushing garlicky red, then caramelised inside a hot skillet then tossed with carbs and hot cheese.  Sick.  Just sick.  Just something, I guess, to miss Seoul by.

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Just one last thought.  If you were ever in Seoul.  Drink this.

 


CHICKEN GALBI RAMEN:

 

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CHICKEN GALBI RAMEN

Ingredients

    CHICKEN AND MARINATE:
  • 14 oz (400 grams) boneless chicken thighs
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tbsp (15 grams) diced scallion
  • 1 tsp (10 grams) ginger
  • 3 1/2 tbsp (74 grams) korean chili paste/gochujang
  • 2 tbsp (30 grams) sake wine
  • 2 tbsp (30 grams) apple juice
  • 1 tbsp (15 grams) soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp (14 grams) toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp (11 grams) honey
  • 1 tsp Shin Ramen seasonings
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp Korean chili flakes/gochu, or more if preferred
  • 1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds, plus more to sprinkle
  • TO COOK:
  • 2 disks (212 grams) Shin Ramen
  • 2 cups (100 grams) sliced scallions
  • 1 cup (87 grams) shredded provolone cheese
  • 2.9 oz (83 grams) The Laughing Cow original cheese cubes, torn in half
  • 1 cup crushed Korean seaweed

Instructions

  1. TO MARINATE THE CHICKEN: Peel the skin off of the chicken thighs, then cut into small chunks and set aside. Cut the chicken into small strips, then set aside in a large bowl. In a blender, run garlic, scallion, ginger, gochujang, sake wine, apple juice, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, honey, Shin Ramen seasoning, garlic powder, black pepper and curry powder until smoothly pureed. Transfer the mixture onto the chickens, then add Korean chili flakes and toasted sesame seeds. Toss until even, and let marinate for at least 2 hours to 4 hours.
  2. TO COOK: Blanch the Shin Ramen in boiling water until softened but still al dente. Rinse under water to cool off completely, then drain off any excess water. Toss with 1tsp toasted sesame oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.
  3. Heat a large flat skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken skins. Once you have about 1 tbsp of chicken fat rendered, remove the skin and discard (leaving the fat in the skillet). Add the sliced scallions and marinated chickens (with all the liquid). Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally but not too frequent (to allow more caramelization), until the chicken is cooked through. Add the blanched Shin Ramen and toss until evenly coated in sauce (if you find it a little dry, add a tbsp of water or so). You can now either layer the shredded provolone cheese and The Laughing Cow cheese on top, and melt them under a preheated broiler, or you can simply toss them into the noodle over the stove until melted (which is how it was done in the restaurant).
  4. Sprinkle the crushed Korean seaweed over the top and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Binge immediately.

Notes

I didn't add rice cake or sliced cabbages to the recipe. I love rice cakes, but in the case of chicken galbi, I found them to be bland due to the lack of sauce to cook them in. You can add them if you want to, but not too much that it throws the seasoning off balance. And I didn't have cabbage on hand... didn't think I missed it either.

Korean seaweed is brushed with toasted sesame oil and salt. If unavailable, you can use Japanese seaweed which is less seasoned.

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38 Comments

  • i think vacation is successful so long as you finish it feeling better than you started (: and if you didn’t absorb seoul as much as you wanted to, more reason to go back! the food here looks amazing, and further cements how much i want to go to korea and devour everything. i love galbi, so this chicken ramen version is sounding mighty tempting right about now…

  • This looks so bad/so good and totally up my alley. I love shin ramen with a little cheese and this just takes that to a whole new level. Genius!

  • Been thinking of you lately, friend — I wish so much that your trip wasn’t under such bittersweet circumstances. Still, your snaps of HK and Seoul were totally mesmerizing, and oh my goodness, this galbi ramen! It’s filled with every spicy, cheesy, carb-y desire my heart has ever had. I can’t wait to try it. Sending you healing thoughts and hugs <3

  • how appropriate that seoul soothed your soul :)
    happy to hear you’ve found a bit of peace and a LOT of good food while there!

    this galbi ramen looks insane. i love shin ramen heehee

  • Seriously, every single one of your photos is so stunning. It looks like a beautiful and captivating city. I am so glad you had such a good time, if only for such a short while! Also, this ramen looks UNREAL. Exactly what I want to be eating right now.

  • Hello there–so sorry to hear you were feeling somber on your trip. The photos you brought back are so beautiful and wonderful. It goes to show even though you didn’t have your blogging cap on, it is still something that comes so naturally for you. Also this galbi in all it’s cheesy gooey-ness is unbelievable!! I hope your spirits lift! Xoxo

  • wildly stunning photography as always, I feel like I was on your “vacation” right by your side!!! and the apple juice is such an unexpected addition to this dish, I’m DYING for a bite!!!

    (seriously…. dying. give me some now.)

  • I’ve been sneakily following your site for a while and now I can’t help but leave you a note (finally)! Love your website and photos and recipes, my stomach (and my husband’s) thank you eternally. xx

  • OMG, if I never go to Seoul, I feel like I’ve already been! Your pics are AMAZING! We’re just getting started, so please come check us out. We’re not a food blog per se but we still want to take you on a journey. the cottondiaries.com Thanks for the trip.

  • Welcome back from your much deserved rest. Is that “bao” in the third and fourth picture? I did not know that they have such things in Korea.

  • I love your blog. :)

    I really loved Seoul. I was so apprehensive about travelling there (on my own) for work and when I got there I was just amazed by the sights, sounds, people, food etc. It was breath-taking.

    The food was crazy!! I took so many photos of all the meals that we had while I was there. I think my favourite dish was the Ginseng Chicken. I also found I preferred some Kimchi over others. :)

  • This recipe?! I can’t even! Korean food is simply amazing and this just proves it. One day I will make it to Korea and I can’t wait to have my chilli tolerance tested.

  • This looks amazing! I’ve been thinking about making budae jjigae (army stew with kimchi, ramen, spam, and cheese!) from cherry on my sundae but I think this recipe just skipped the line.

  • Hi! I’ve been following your blog for a while, and felt your sorrow this past month. As a native and resident of Seoul (the “Kyung” of my name stands for “capital city” in Chinese characters), I am glad that my city was able to offer you some solace and comfort (in the form of food, no less!). Thank you for capturing my city and our food so beautifully. You and your blog just rock!

  • I’m so glad Seoul was able to wrap her arms around you in a delicious hug, and provide a much needed respite from the emotional rollercoaster of late. I only wish you could have come to Busan so I could hug you and share a meal. Your pictures are stunning. Love and hugs to you, strangerfriend! ♥

  • Sometimes the best trips are the mindless trips where you drift around and move with the magnetic force. Unfortunately I leave for Patagonia this morning & I have anxiety pulsing through my veins as I try to maneuver jackets, down vests, polar fleeces etc. into a too small carry on bag. The moments tick away and I find myself longing for a trip that mirrors your meanderings around Seoul.

    Sigh! But there is always this ramen (assuming I make it back in one piece).

  • I made this and it tastes marvelous. However, I don’t think it is one if you are on a diet.

    I’m not, Yipee!!

  • Hi! I made this with my friend super late one night, and it was SO GOOD. Your fusion recipes are amazing, and your posts are always great to read. I always learn so much about new dishes and ingredients from your recipes. Take care!

  • There’s something to be said about losing yourself in the unfamiliar. I find it refreshing to sort of be invisible once and awhile. I’m glad your trip could help you towards healing. I also can’t wait to make this. Question: is the Laughing Cow cheese the spreadable kind? I’ve never seen them in cube form, only the wedges.

  • I absolutely love all the photos that you posted of the food street. Just gorgeous makes me want to travel to all these places. The recipe sounds great my daughters are going through a phase and are into kpop/kdrama and keep trying all these ramen recipes. They will love this one. Thank you for sharing;)

  • Seoul looks so amazing- thanks for sharing your photos! Do you have any “must visit” restaurant recommendations for Hong Kong? I’ll be there in 2 weeks and am planning to eat every delicious item I can get my hands on :)

  • Mandi, this recipe is the reason I was truly delighted when my parents presented me with a big pack of Shin ramen–goodness knows why they bought it, but it was a fortunate choice since I’d been eyeing this recipe since you first blessed us with it.

    I’ve made this a couple of times and it’s a glorious cupboard recipe for me, thank you. This evening I made it with some minced pork I had stashed in the freezer and some cheddar (rather tricky to get provolone in England) and it was amazing.

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