I was late in the K-drama game, but after watching Crash Landing On You upon insistence by some friends, I finally got it. Yes, the pacing could use some faster editing; yes, I half-cringed at the end loops where it shows scenes like moving postcards; yes, I am starting to appreciate the chiseled cheekbones and broad shoulders of these leading men; and yes, I become ravenous after each episode. Before the ECQ was implemented, and while watching the two-hour finale, I ordered some bibimbap (mixed rice with meat and assorted vegetables), haemul sundubu jjigae (seafood tofu stew), and galbitang (beef short rib soup with sweet potato noodles) at midnight to satiate my cravings.
By the time I moved on to Itaewon Class a month after, I was determined to attempt to make a few dishes. Attempt is the key description here, because while my first dish was this mishmash of cold soba noodles with gochujang, cucumber, carrots, purple cabbage strips, and eggs, I got too confident with the mandolin and almost sliced off my right thumb and middle finger. Then it dawned on me, why the heck was I using a mandolin when a. I was making an Asian dish, therefore, should have been focusing more on knife technique, and b. if the mandolin's culinary history has been murkily traced to a Frenchman who invented the guillotine, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, then I must have had a death wish for my digits. Kidding aside, it truly is easily one of the most, if not, the most dangerous, kitchen tools around, and must be handled with extreme caution.
Obviously I needed to rethink my meal for the day, and after watching a YouTube hack on different ways you can cook ramyun, or instant noodles, I thought the best thing I could do with bandaged-up fingers was the easiest one, milk ramyun. I added a half teaspoon of cumin and another half teaspoon of red pepper flakes to the mix instead of ground black pepper, as I was aiming for a curry-ish taste. And I snuck in some cheddar gratings just because. Spring onions are optional, but I did it anyway, cutting loose jagged strands using my left hand with scissors, the Korean way. The result was explosive: a mix of froth, spice, cheesy, sweet and quirky... just like a K-drama. ;-)
Cooking time: 6 minutes
1 pack of instant noodles (Shin, Lucky Me, whatever you have in your cupboard, use it.)
300 ml whole milk
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
1 sprig green onions, scissor-cut
1 tablespoon grated cheddar (optional)
1. Boil hot water in a kettle and pour on instant noodles. If using Nissin Cup Noodles or another brand in a styrofoam cup, pour water directly into the cup, until level with top. Cover with a saucer. If using a packet, boil the noodles and water in a saucepan or electric cooker. Do this for 2 minutes.
2. If using saucepan, drain water after the 2 minute mark. We don't want it fully cooked yet. If cup noodles, do the same. Transfer steaming hot noodles into empty saucepan or electric cooker (you can also use a rice cooker if you want) and pour milk into it. Boil noodle mix for 3-4 minutes.
That froth is everything. Milk should start getting thicker and mixed with spices.
3. While milk is starting to froth, sprinkle cumin and pepper flakes. Stir occasionally for a minute. Add in grated cheddar and spring onions. Turn off heat. Transfer in a bowl and slurp away.
Now all you need is soju!
If you have at least half a cup left of the spicy milk sauce, keep it chilled, don't drain it. You can use this sauce as a base for seafood bouillabaisse or sauce.