Casa Mun is a serene restaurant in Buenos Aires that serves outstanding Asian food with a dash of Californian cuisine. Chef Mun Kim is a former banker from Los Angeles who was obsessed with creating fine food. Eventually, he took chef training and moved to Argentina to open this exquisite candlelit loft dining room (it's one of the hardest reservations to get in B.A.).
This crystal clear soup offers up a tangle of spicy, sweet and salty flavours. You can add other seafood to this rich flavoured broth, if desired. To make life easier, you can make or buy fish or chicken broth and then add the broth seasonings. I could not find chrysanthemum leaves in Toronto but on the chef’s recommendation I used Italian parsley. Use about 4 inches of daikon radish if Korean radish is not available. Konbu is available in packages labelled kelp in Asian grocery stores.
Ready In: 2 hours 15 minutes including making broth
- 1 large onion, thickly sliced with the peel
- One bunch of green onions, including the roots
- One large Korean radish, cut into cubes (if the radish has leaves, add them)
- 1/2 bunch of chrysanthemum leaves (or Italian parsley)
- 1 large carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 head of garlic, left whole
- 1 inch, long piece of ginger, sliced
- 3 sheets konbu (2 by 3 inches)
- 12 cups of water
- Broth seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Korean pepper paste
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- ¼ cup mirin
- 2 tablespoon light soy sauce
- Salt to taste
- 8 medium-to-large size clams
- 8 large shrimp, shelled
- 2 calamari cut into bite sized pieces,
- ½ block soft tofu cut in 1-inch squares (about 200 grams)
- ¼ cup chrysanthemum leaves or Italian parsley
Add onions, green onions, Korean radish, chrysanthemum leaves, carrots, garlic, ginger and konbu in a large pot and add water. Bring it to the boil and lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer it for about 1½ to 2 hours, or until broth is flavourful. Strain (you should have seven to eight cups).
Return broth to pot over medium high heat and add Korean chili paste, fish sauce, mirin and soy sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed.
Add clams and simmer for three minutes or until beginning to open. Add shrimp and cook one minute longer or until pink. Add calamari and tofu, and cook one minute longer or until seafood is just cooked through and clams are open.
Divide seafood among shallow soup bowls, pour over broth and garnish with parsley.
This Korean soup is a spice and umami extravaganza, and for that I’d suggest Austrian gruner-veltliner, a white with a sour-fruity dual personality, its sour side harmonizing with the soy-fish sauce and its fruitiness taming the spice while coasting above and complementing the dish. But you might also consider shochu, the spirit distilled from barley, sweet potatoes or rice, popular in Japan and Korea (where it’s called soju). At about 25 per cent alcohol, it delivers a modestly bracing kick and will not fall on the swords of the radish or chili. Besides, you don’t want to sip loads of wine with a soup. Good sake is a fine alternative. Serve either chilled. Beppi Crosariol