First aired on In Town and Out (31/3/12)
Celebrities and snobby foodies may trip over themselves in the rush to get through the doors of David Chang's Momofuku restaurant, but In Town and Out host Michael Bhardwaj and reviewers Samer Forzley and Cindy Chung were in no rush to cook from his book after reviewing it for this month's cookbook club.
David Chang's version of fusion cooking takes this foodie trend to an extreme level. He "takes obscure ingredients and simple ingredients and combines them in new and innovative ways," Cindy explained. [He's an] innovative Asian cook who uses very interesting ingredients that are palatable for many, many, many fans."
This makes his food a delight when someone else does all the cooking for you. But to recreate the Momofuku experience at home requires a lot of time and effort. "Most of these dishes were multi-pages and multi-hours, if not multi-days of preparation," Cindy commented.
Samer agreed. When the book arrived at his doorstep, he wanted to start cooking -- and eating -- right away. "I really wanted to start cooking," he said. "I quickly realized that I had none of the ingredients at home. Nothing! Almost nothing!"
Both were shocked to realize that they needed to build a DIY sous-vide cooker for a few dishes, including Chang's 48 hour steak. Samer and Cindy had to enlist the help of an engineer friend to make that recipe happen. "That's what it takes to cook from this book," Samer said.
If you're still keen to give Momofuku a try, Samer and Cindy say go for it. Just be prepared. "You need to figure out your game plan," Cindy said. "It's not just putting ingredients in a bowl and mixing it together, it's actually the whole process of the strategy of gathering things to setting the time out to preparing it and then the actual production and cooking."
Ginger Scallion Noodles and Ginger Scallion Sauce
Our ginger scallion noodles are an homage to/out-and-out rip-off of one of the greatest dishes in New York City: the $4.95 plate of ginger scallion noodles at Great New York Noodletown down on the Bowery in Chinatown.
Ginger scallion sauce is one of the greatest sauces or condiments ever. Ever. It's definitely a mother sauce at Momofuku, something that we use over and over and over again. If you have ginger scallion sauce in the fridge, you will never go hungry: stir 6 tablespoons into a bowl of hot noodles--lo mein, rice noodles, Shanghai thick noodles--and you're in business. Or serve over a bowl of rice topped with a fried egg.Or with grilled meat or any kind of seafood. Or almost anything.
At Noodle Bar, we add a few vegetables to the Noodletown dish to appease the vegetarians, add a little sherry vinegar to the sauce to cut the fat, and leave off the squirt of hoisin sauce that Noodletown finishes the noodles with. (Not because it's a bad idea or anything, just that we've got hoisin in our pork buns, and too much hoisin in a meal can be too much of a good thing. Feel free to add it back.)
The dish goes something like this: boil 6 ounces of ramen noodles, drain, toss with 6 tablespoons Ginger Scallion Sauce (below); top the bowl with 1⁄4 cup each of Bamboo Shoots; Quick-Pickled Cucumbers; pan-roasted cauliflower (a little oil in a hot wide pan, 8 or so minutes over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the florets are dotted with brown and tender all the way through; season with salt); a pile of sliced scallions; and a sheet of toasted nori. But that's because we've always got all that stuff on hand. Improvise to your needs, but know that you need ginger scallion sauce on your noodles, in your fridge, and in your life. For real.
- 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions
- 1/2 cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons usukuchi (light soy sauce)
- 3/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. Though it's best after 15 or 20 minutes of sitting, ginger scallion sauce is good from the minute it's stirred together up to a day or two in the fridge. Use as directed, or apply as needed.This recipe is excerpted from
Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan. Copyright © 2009 by David Chang and Peter Meehan. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House of Canada Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Photo of David Chang by Gabrielle Stabile.