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Cooking with the Momofuku cookbook


MikeHartnett
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I got this from the library -- I'm a cheapskate when it comes to books.

The vinegar pickles (p. 66) call for rice wine vinegar. I'm only familiar with the dark kind that I use for Chinese cooking. Making the recipe with apples and Asian pears, the rice wine vinegar seems to really overpower all the flavors. I haven't had these at Momofuku -- is this how it's supposed to be? I think it would be better with a lighter vinegar.

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>>The vinegar pickles (p. 66) call for rice wine vinegar. I'm only familiar with the dark kind that I use for Chinese cooking. <<

I have a crystal clear rice vinegar, used that for sunchokes in the mushroom salad. It has a lighter flavour and I would think it is supposed to be this way judging the pictures in the book.

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I got this from the library -- I'm a cheapskate when it comes to books.

The vinegar pickles (p. 66) call for rice wine vinegar. I'm only familiar with the dark kind that I use for Chinese cooking. Making the recipe with apples and Asian pears, the rice wine vinegar seems to really overpower all the flavors. I haven't had these at Momofuku -- is this how it's supposed to be? I think it would be better with a lighter vinegar.

I've used the light rice vinegar. I'm fairly certain that's what it refers to.

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Got this book just before Christmas and I honestly think it's my favorite cookbook of the year. I really like the informality of the writing style, the photography is stellar, and the recipes seem pretty great overall. So far, I've only made a few quick pickles and the scallion-ginger sauce, but those two items along with some purchased fresh lo mein noodles and hoisin sauce made for an awesome 15 minute weeknight dinner. Pork Belly Buns and Ramen are my next two projects.

Kent: look for a clear, unseasoned rice wine vinegar like this one for a more neutral/subtle sourness.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am really enjoying this book - hats off to Chang and Meehan. I am running with almost complete success... pickles: hit; ramen broth: fantastic; collard greens: outstanding; bamboo shoots: good; roast pork shoulder: very good; fried chicken: amazing; octo vin: superb; pork buns: grand slam.

Would appreciate any feedback on Chang's sequential method for the broth rather than just putting everything all in at once & cooking the whole mess in the oven overnight.

The only failure I've had was a truly spectacular one... I had the great idea of making extra praline paste, to use some as layers in a cake and then to have some extra around the house since it lasts a long time.

Recipe is easy as pie - ingredients are .5cup hazelnuts; .5cup gran sugar; pinch salt.

Instructions: roast nuts. melt sugar to medium brown. put nuts & salt in food proc & start. Pour in melted sugar and run for 3 - 5 minutes.

As I said, smart me decided to triple the recipe. Well, as I poured in the hot sugar syrup, and it wanted to start solidifying, the blade couldn't keep up and just stopped after 15 - 20 seconds or so. This was insufficient to have the sugar recrystallize and get broken down by the blade again, and was insufficient to emulsify the whole thing. Oil is seeping out, the whole deal getting harder by the second - until I ultimately have a solid block of hazelnut brittle in the bowl of my food processor. Took about a half hour to get it all out; considered using a chisel.

I will not let these damn nuts get the best of me... I will try again as soon as my wife lets me back in the kitchen, after the mess I made.

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I just ordered this book off of Amazon. I'm really looking forward to making the Ramen and the Pork belly pork buns. Do the recipes require lots of exotic ingredients or kitchen equipment? Or is most of it done with fairly common ingredients and kitchen equipment.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got mine for Xmas and read it cover to cover the first day. I find the writing style engaging and am not bothered by the swearing at all.

Have been starting with the pickles. The Tokyo turnip pickles were great and simple, and I made a double batch of the oi kimchi yesterday -- then promptly scarfed half of it at the cutting board. After a night in the fridge, the other batch has given off enough liquid to fill 2/3s of the jar, so I'm interested to see how those are in a few days.

And that sauce: I'm tempted to mix it up and serve it as a dressing for hardboiled eggs. I was making a dozen while prepping the pickles and thought I'd dab a bit on an egg: a potent, bite-sized version of heaven.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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!

With something like Konbu one simply steeps it and removes when making dashi or else the broth turns bitter due to over-extraction according to Shizuo Tsuji's "Japanese Cooking". Cooking the mushrooms for a long time in the broth will probably make it cloudy and maybe impart an undesirable taste. That's not that different than what Ruhlman recommends of not simmering the vegetables in the stock. I follow his guidelines as well and only add those during the last hour. I guess one can do the same thing here and add the Konbu and mushrooms at the end after cooking the meat and bones for a long time.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I could not wait to dig in and started with the ramen recipe.

I made the ramen for dinner this weekend. The broth was made and frozen a couple of weeks ago. I had the pork belly cooked sous vide and frozen a while back as well, then crisped in a cast iron skillet and sliced. I followed the book recipe in every other way and was very happy with how good the pork shoulder came out considering that it had no other seasoning than salt and sugar. I cooked the eggs in my immersion circulator at 63C for 45 minutes. This was delicious and it's great to know that I have about another 1.5 quarts of ramen broth in the freezer. I was not crazy about the nori sheets in there, so I think I will omit those next time.

Oh, and definitely make pickled shiitakes with the mushrooms from the stock. they are addictive and go great with the soup.

Momofuku Ramen.jpg

Momofuku Ramen2.jpg

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I was not crazy about the nori sheets in there, so I think I will omit those next time.

Elie, did you toast the nori? I think he says it's optional, but I think it's necessary.

You reversed the pork belly order too, I see. Has anyone had success with the book order?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I was not crazy about the nori sheets in there, so I think I will omit those next time.

Elie, did you toast the nori? I think he says it's optional, but I think it's necessary.

You reversed the pork belly order too, I see. Has anyone had success with the book order?

Good point about the nori. I did not toast them and their flavor was a bit too overpowering. I more often than not will have pieces of pork belly cooked sous vide and frozen, then simply seared slowly until crispy and used in whatever. This was just one of those and was not cooked or seasoned specifically for ramen. I think it was bagged with only salt, pepper and a little lard.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Are the proportions right for the ginger scallion sauce (p. 57)? That's 3 cups of ginger and scallions and only 1/4 cup oil plus a few teaspoons of other liquids. This isn't much of a sauce, more like just a bunch of ginger and scallions. Which isn't bad, but not great.

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Anybody make the pickled mustard seeds yet? I made a batch and think they're great. Good on sandwiches, mixed into lesser mustards or on salads. I used two different kinds of mustard seeds and I think the size difference makes it a little more interesting. The recipe makes it sound like you might run out of liquid at some point, but I didn't find this to be the case. If anything, mine are a little too wet, probably because I was afraid to simmer them too much.

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I made the roasted rice cakes some time ago (posted on my blog)-- I've been eying this for a while and you cannot imagine how excited I was to finally see dok (dduk?) in the freezer section! (In San Francisco. Never seen it before in Manila, though it probably exists somewhere.)

roastedricecakes-eg.jpg

I liked it (hello, sweet, salty, spicy) but I couldn't eat too much. My guests were polite and ate one or two, saying they were "okay." But they're not used to Korean food, or spicy food, or... (oh well.)

I know we plucked this out of the Cookbooks thread, but Lamington and I published a review of the book here.

There've been at least two blogs that surfaced aiming to cook through the book:

Momofuku at Home and

Momofuku for 2.

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 did the pickled apples with honeycrisp and find they need a lot more time than the 2-3 hours in the book. 1-3 days is optimum, over a week and they start going over the hill. Pretty tasty though. I'm going to do pickled Asian pears next.

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Thanks for the plug for momofukuathome.wordpress.com

While I haven't made the Ramen broth or dashi yet, I will attempt them using a couple of different techniques. First, David Arnold shows a better result using a pressure cooker in Cooking Issues. Second, I have become a more frequent user of the oven for making any stocks at a consistent 180 degree based on suggestions of Michael Ruhlman.

It's a good example of how you can take a cookbook, add different techniques to the same recipe and yield a better final product. That's the theory, I'll let you know how it works out.

- Chris

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I've been making the ramen broth with smoked pork hocks. They're $1.50/lb from Central Market and have a bit of smoke flavor. The only downside is that it's just salty enough where it's perfect, but you can't add any more salt like tare or bonito.

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I had great success with the pork buns on sunday, one thing I found was that a 3 lb pork belly yielded enough for approx 3 dozen buns. The recipe says it should yield 12 buns, but given their small size that doesn't seem possible to me. I cooked the belly with the method in the book, and it worked well (I let it marinate for approx. 7 hours).

I made chincharrones with the skin from the belly, and they were really good. It is completely mesmerizing to watch the skin expand, totally psychadelic, and the togarashi spice was a real revelation for me. I had no problems with sticking, and could easily fry 3-4 pieces in the same small pot with about 1,5 L oil.

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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Is skim milk powder the same thing as nonfat dry milk powder as listed in the ingredients for the pork buns?

Cheers,

Geoff

As far as I know, yes. I would use non fat dry milk.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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That's what I used.

Edit: I forgot to mention: I see no good reason to cut out 50 squares of parchment paper to make the buns, because you most likely will not be steaming 50 buns at once. I simply made parchment squares for the space available in my steamer, lined a sheet pan with plastic wrap to hold the unfinished buns, and continuously reused the parchment as the finished buns came off the steamer.

Edited by Mallet (log)

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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