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Cooking with the Momofuku cookbook


MikeHartnett
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Looks amazing, from what I was able to browse in the store yesterday. A few eye-rolling moments for me (unnecessary "f*cks" and actually writing out "them" as "'em") but overall I'm excited. (Didn't buy it yet, though, looking for a better deal than here in Manila, where it's approximately $35. Might get it when I come to the States (but I hope I can still cook from it by then.)

I haven't eaten in Momofuku, but I think all the favorites are here (ramen of course, steamed buns, fried chicken). No Milk Bar recipes but I don't think many will care.

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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I got it yesterday. Haven't cooked anything but will try over the weekend. The language is a bit over the top but the book nicely shows his passion for cooking.

Half memoir half recipes it seems, it has something for everyone, from the amateur to the guy who goes off to order half a pigs head and activa.

I like it as much as I like A16 o Colicchio's books, will for sure expand my horizon.

JK

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We got the book this week and cooked out of it tonight. We have dined at each of the restaurants in the Momofuku mini-empire so we were excited to try out some of our favorites.

Before I report on the cooking adventures, I would like to defend the writing voice he uses in the book. It is authentic and natural and I probably drop more f-bombs in casual conversation than he does. I also like his honesty - e.g. pg. 80, on buying premade steamed buns: "How many sandwich shops bake their own bread? Right. Don't kill yourself." Or page 294, Sources: "My answer about sources is pretty simple: Google it." It is really refreshing to hear this after so much precious cookbook prose.

So: tonight we decided to make the Momofuku pork buns (pg 79), something we have had at the restaurant many times and have always loved.

Overall: It was a success but there were some minor technical issues that will require fixing next time. Pretty standard for the first time cooking from a recipe.

Pic of finished product is below.

IMG_2648.JPG

Some notes:

1) The buns (pg 81) were great. We also purchased, as a comparable, some frozen buns from our local Chinese grocery store and they weren't as good. As I write this, we have 40-something more buns that are being steamed.

2) The pickled cucumbers were tasty and easy. I wish I had known about this approach earlier.

3) The belly itself - this is where we had problems.

i) The belly we purchased (from Savenor's in Boston) had the skin on, and my butchering was, well, imperfect.

ii) The belly cooking technique suggested in the book (450 degrees then down to 250) resulted in a mostly-burned belly that was not completely rendered, so the final product was, in spots, alternating between charcoal and fat.

iii) The belly curing in salt and sugar resulted in a too-salty crust.

There was some user error here - I should have taken the belly out earlier, in particular. But a quick check of the internet revealed that Chang had provided this recipe to Gourmet magazine (sob!) in 2008, and his technique at that time was quite different - he essentially braises it at low temperature first and then cooks at high heat.

Next time, we will make the following changes: a) we will brush off the salt/sugar rub before tossing the belly into the oven; b) we will cook the belly at a lower temperature, maybe first, before browning the belly. The browning will be watched like a hawk to prevent burning; c) we will try to buy less-fatty belly in the first place. If these changes do not result in "perfect" belly we will revert to the Gourmet technique and see if that works.

All in all, this was still a really successful dish, and easy too. I would recommend it.

Tariq

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I made the pork buns as well yet switched the pork belly out and roasted chicken leg in. I guess any juicy fatty meat will work. I was eying the pork belly at savenor's, skipped though. I had bad salt crust experiences earlier ... Did you use a gas or electric stove?

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I got mine too, and I must say I love this book. Reading their stories, and there are many all through the book it seems, is interesting and also quite inspiring in a way. I don't care about the language, makes it more authentic and seems to be actually written by them, not some ghost write like so many (almost all?) other cookbooks. I can't wait to cook from this book, almost wish I would not have a tritip to put on my new Big Green Egg tonight. Everything looks really good and seems to be relatively easy to make at home.

At first glance I thought the cover is probably the ugliest cook book I've ever seen, but reading their story it all makes sense. More so than many other book covers actually.

I really like ramen, never thought about making them myself (safe for the late night microwave bowl), this is sure to change quickly.

I'm very happy with the book, would love to eat at one of their places someday, though it's unlikely I'll make it there anytime soon.

I'm a big fan of books that share stories and backgrounds of the chef, the restaurant, the different dishes and/or the regions they come from, and this book delivers on all of those accounts.

It's a bad Momofuku!

(to paraphrase a bit of Pulp Fiction)

Oliver

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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I made the pork buns as well yet switched the pork belly out and roasted chicken leg in. I guess any juicy fatty meat will work. I was eying the pork belly at savenor's, skipped though. I had bad salt crust experiences earlier ... Did you use a gas or electric stove?

Glad to hear there's another Bostonian out there! We just moved here from New York and are trying to import our favorite tastes from back home.

I have a dual-fuel oven - gas burners, electric oven. I wonder if my oven ran really hot. I have been looking at pork belly recipes all over the internet trying to figure out how to optimize this. If I can get it right, there's a whole new world of culinary experiences waiting for me.

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makes it more authentic and seems to be actually written by them, not some ghost write like so many (almost all?) other cookbooks.

That means the co-author did a good job!

I'm not actually aware of any restaurant chef who has written a cookbook, as opposed to having it written by a co-author. Maybe there's an exception out there somewhere, but in this case the Momofuku book was written by Peter Meehan, former $25-and-under critic for the New York Times. Meehan even gets cover credit. There's a chat with Meehan and Chang on Amazon.com for anyone who would like to listen. I haven't done so yet but plan to eventually.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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We made the ramen last night. It's wonderful. I recommend it highly. The instructions are near-perfect. Eggs were cooked in a water bath.

We also made the cereal milk panna cotta but it didn't turn out right. Going to try again.

IMG_2655.jpg

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The Ramen? Did you make the broth all the way from scratch or took shortcuts? To me it looks more like a "oh we made ramen" over the last days then last night task.

I did the mushroom salad which was incredible and had some serrano ham with his red eye mayo on the side to get rid of a starbucks VIA sample .... I finally found a use for that.

The pickled sun-chokes for the mushroom salad turned out awesome. After a day the whole thing turned sweet somehow even though it was super sour when I tried after pickling them for a few minutes. Mushrooms I had to substitute but that worked out OK

IMG01102-20091110-2136.jpg

Cheers

JK

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The Ramen? Did you make the broth all the way from scratch or took shortcuts? To me it looks more like a "oh we made ramen" over the last days then last night task.

Whole thing. Konbu, mushrooms, chicken, pork bones, bacon. Took all day but not that much active time.

Also - after we were done with the mushrooms we pickled them. Tasty!

Glad to hear pickled sunchokes turned out okay. I hate sunchokes - maybe they are nice when pickled

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On the resources page they mention bio-world.com for some of the salts, I'd try that. But first he mentions google (I thought that was funny) as their main source/resource. You could also ask at the drug store if they can order you some, but that might be much more expensive than some chemical supply house.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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  • 2 weeks later...

I spotted the book at Costco today, of all places. It was priced reasonably at $22.99. The book looks really good, but a little too porky for me to make useful in my kosher home. If I am mistaken, please let me know.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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I love this book, i love the steam buns, I do think cooking at 400 and then 250 is the best temp for me, I also had issues with the cereal milk panna cotta was very salty and next time i will try frosted flakes for the extra sweetness. I think its very well written and has personality. Ginger scallion noodles was my drug of choice for a solid 2 weeks. I want some fluffy warm buns now!

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I really like this book, not only for the recipes but I really appreciate the stories, and seeing some of the things that made d.chang successful. I tried a few of the recipes out at work. Like the pickled mustard seeds, which worked out awesome. Except don't bother trying it with black mustard seeds, I don't think they have enough pectin to work.

I made some kimchi puree also, tried it with oysters. I also made some tare. Overall I think it's a good value cookbook.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am working on making ramen (store bought noodles, all else from cookbook) and am wondering about the sequential nature of the broth - konbu, mushrooms, chicken, pork, veg, all more or less one at a time and in that order. I am a fan of the Ruhlman overnight oven method for stocks, so the repetitive add-it-in-and-fish-it-out order of the ramen broth process makes that difficult. Does anyone know if there's a proven reason to doing the extractions separately? Taking longer doesn't matter to me, but if you can't get good extraction from a mushroom when you're also trying to get extraction from a pork bone, then that would be worth knowing.

Thanks!

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