|Korean Spanish Comfort Fusion|
When I was in grad school in Barcelona, I used to travel to other parts of Spain whenever I had the chance. During the summer, my flatmate and I flew down to Sevilla to visit a classmate working there for a term. It was probably the third hottest place I have been. It was so hot that there was 'fake' shade erected all over the city. In all the narrow streets of the old town, tarps and fabric had been hung between the buildings to provide a bit of comfort. I remember that E, a mexican, refused to wear shorts despite the sweltering heat. It is a strange thing that many of Spanish and Mexican male friends think shorts are for the beach or for little kids. It was 37C for crying out loud! We spent the days running from shade to shade. We found what is still in my books today as the best Tapas bar I have ever been to. It is the shade of the Cathedral.
I don't recall the name but I am sure I could find it again today, 5 years later. It was a hornet's nest activity. The kitchen was open concept surrounded by a bar where all the patrons sidled up. The counter was made of slate. Whenever you ordered anything off the chalk menu, the server would jot it down on the counter in front of you as the tab. The best Tapa I had was this Curried Spinach and Chick Pea dish. It was very lightly Curried and came piled on a dish the size of a saucer. We ordered two. I replicated at home in Barcelona after that using local spices and artisan Chick Peas. I still do it that way when I fancy it.
One weekend, I was feeling a tad homesick. Korean food was really hard to comeby in Barcelona. So I concoted what has come to be one of my top ten comfort dishes. These are distinct from standard Comfort Food. Instead of using the spice mix to make the Spinach Tapa I used Korean Curry cubes. As well, instead of making the obligatory white rice which I would normally have had with Korean Curry, I made the dish to emulate a Paella. Paella is not only made with rice. It is also made with Fideu noodles. They are short stubby spaghetti sized noodles. If you do it right, the Noodles on the bottom become crispy. MMMMM. Of course, I don't have a gas stove here like I did there so I have to cover the cooking dish now to get it hot enough. So it is a complete, bizzarre amalgam of Korean and Spanish dishes that is unbelievably good. I have made it for my flatmates, friends and D and they agree. See, I feel better just writing about it.... well that and my belly is full of it too :^D
Korean Spanish Curried Spinach Fideu
300 g Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed
1/3 sliced Onion
2 cloves Garlic, small, chopped
1/2 inch fresh Ginger, julienned
1/2 tin Chick Peas (Garbanzos)
1 Chili, chopped
1 t Black Pepper
125 g Fideu, noodles (What are they? They look like 2cm pieces of Spaghetti, there are Italian and German equivalents. Most familiar to North American's floating in Lipton's Instant Chicken Noodle Soup)
Add 50 g of Korean Curry Cubes to 2 c Boiled Water and set aside to soften.
In a 10", nonstick fry pan, heat 1-2 T Olive Oil on Medium heat. Sautee the Onions, Ginger, and Chili until the Onion is soft, 3 minutes.
Add the Spinach, Garlic and Pepper. Mix thoroughly. Add the Fideu and mix to distribute throughout the pan. Stir the Curry Cubes before pouring into the pan. You may want to add another 1/4 c of water to swirl out any remaining Curry. Stir. Add the Chick Peas and mix to distribute.
Cover and let simmer on LOW heat for 20 minutes. If you have a gas stove or if you don't like the noodles to be too soft, don't cover. The other reason that I cover this dish is because our fume hood sucks or rather it doesn't and I don't want the house smelling of curry for a week.