Am I the only one reading the Momofuku Cookbook?
I've been reading the Momofuku cookbook this week and I'm really excited to start cooking from it. There are elements of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean with twists and new ingredients. It's not chockful of recipes. There's exposition on a number of topics, so it's a good read and you can cook from it.
I'd join you but my copy is still in transit: for some reason UPS thought the delivery was some 300 km to the northeast.
I, too, have been reading it. It looks great. I have made the ginger scallion noodles (which I just finished left overs for lunch.) And they were delicious. Have also made some Kim Chi which I hope to use in a stew this weekend.
I am really excited about it. Looks like the best cookbook I have had in a while.
The Momofuku cookbook is light on recipes but really strong on ideas. I think it's very good for home cooks who are familiar with many of the ingredients or techniques and will appreciate the conceptual leaps it makes.
My example from yesterday: bacon dashi. It's brilliant. The dashi -- made with kombu and bacon instead of kombu and bonito flakes -- comes up rich and deep but not overpowering. I make traditional dashi rarely because I find few uses for it outside of Japanese cooking -- I find the fishiness of traditional dashi hard to match with many other foods. But the bacon dashi seems to be a versatile background flavor enhancer. I made a batch yesterday and froze it in ice cube trays; I'll be popping bacon dashi cubes into braises, sauces, and stews.
I did not like the ginger scallion noodles. The sauce tasted mostly like oily raw onion to me, even though I heated up the oil before mixing in order to cut the rawness.
Looking forward to experimenting with rice cakes. Eager to hear others' experiences with the book.
re: david kaplan
Totally agree about the strong ideas, and "I think it's very good for home cooks who are familiar with many of the ingredients or techniques and will appreciate the conceptual leaps it makes."
I am also totally crazy about the restaurants' food, so I am very into the book. One key is nailing down the right ingredients.
Great success with the very easy quick pickles (p 66-69 - fennel, cabbage, pear, don't particularly love carrots this way but maybe they'll get better by the end of the week) and vinegar soy shitake pickles (p 73), which are great salty flavor bombs mixed with other foods - rice of course, but I'm going to put them on sandwiches too.
I liked the ginger scallion sauce very much when mixed with rice and the Bo Ssäm pork butt - it has a sharp ginger flavor that cuts through the fatty pork butt beautifully.
We also made the ssäm sauce (p 167), but I have a LOT left over, so I think it wasn't the most popular thing on the table. It was too oily for me, but that could be the heavier than recommended peanut oil we used. He uses a lot of sherry vinegar, and I think I need to come up with the right one to use. The Spanish reserve sherry vinegar I have reminds me of Chinese Black Rice Wine Vinegar - any thoughts on that?
Next I think I'm making the bay leaf butter and pickled mustard seeds.
All the veg dishes at the restaurants are spectacular btw -- pork is a strong theme, but he really rocks the brussels sprouts and other lowly green stuff.