Just west of the famous Calgary Stampede, on the quiet corner of 17 Avenue SW, Calgarians and tourists alike are discovering Anju, the city’s best-kept secret around Korean food. Sexy, mainstream—these were Chef Owner Roy Oh’s goals—for the cuisine he loved and was raised on—as he developed his vision of a beautiful restaurant, a location worthy of serving his modernized classics (no cafeteria vibes allowed).
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Chef Oh’s family ate Korean home cooked meals like kimchi stew alongside Canadian staples like pizza and poutine, furthering his understanding of both from the plate up. He then caught his first culinary break with the local church, cooking for their Christmas parties. Soon, without any formal education in cooking or kitchen management, Chef Oh made it to the line of Joey Tomato’s to learn the basics and beyond, eventually making his way up the ranks of two more kitchens before opening his dream restaurant.
Through Anju, not only has Roy Oh achieved his Korean cooking goals, but he’s also overcome his self-proclaimed challenge of making Korean food relatable and understandable on North American palates. His next goal? Luxurious next-level dishes made from foie gras, fresh truffle and seafood which is an oft-under-celebrated ingredient from the Korean peninsula.
Korean food is all about big, bold flavours, featuring spices, fats and smoke; even the most basic North American comfort food can be made into an incredibly bold, spicy dish at Anju.
Enter the Green Curry Mac & Cheese (recipe included here should you wish to spice up your menu) created by Chef Roy Oh. This dish has all the elements needed to keep taste buds craving more, even on the dreariest winter day. Chickpeas tossed in garlic, cilantro and basil, Green Curry Paste whisked into a creamy sauce, grated cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses melted together in savoury harmony; all broiled until golden brown.
You’re going to need more forks, Chef.
200g of chickpeas
1 minced garlic clove
1 tbsp of chopped cilantro
1 tbsp of chopped thai basil
1 tsp of olive oil
400g of elbow macaroni
5 tbsp of butter
5 tbsp of all-purpose flour
8 tbsp of Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste
2 cups of whole milk
2 cups of cream
225g of grated Monterey Jack cheese
225 g of grated cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp of Club House Pepper, Black Ground 540 g
4 liters of water
For the Green Curry Mac & Cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Blot chickpeas with a paper towel. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, garlic, cilantro basil and season to taste. Spread on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Blitz in food processor until the chickpeas resemble panko breading. Bring water (4 L) to a boil in a large pot. Salt generously, and then add the pasta and cook for 7 minutes. Drain.
For the Green Curry Mac & Cheese Sauce
In another large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and continue whisking until it deepens in color and releases a light toasted aroma, about 1 minute. Whisk in the Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste, and when fully combined, pour in the milk and cream. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and then turn down to a simmer. Simmer until the mixture thickens, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes.
Off heat, whisk in the cheeses and stir until melted. Add the pasta and toss to combine. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn the oven to broil. Pour the mac ‘n’ cheese into a broiler-safe casserole dish, sprinkle with the chickpea crumb mixture, and broil until browned, about 1 minute.