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Oct 29, 2009 10:39 AM

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.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jbsloan

        Glad to hear some early positive feedback. I am anxiously awaiting my copy (Monday, I hope). I am also looking to make a kim chi nabe soon. Sounds like just the ticket in this cooler weather.

        1. re: BigSal

          I've made the pickled shitakes twice now. They're wonderful. Last night, I made the ground pork with rice cakes. We loved this dish in the restaurant. It was equally good at home.

      2. 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.

        1 Reply
        1. 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.

        2. David Chang will be giving cooking classes, based on his cookbook, in Boston at Stir on December 15, 16 & 17.

          Stupid website, so I can't send the exact link. You have to go through the home page to the classes tab:

          2 Replies
          1. re: smtucker

            Er, it sounds from the website that it is actually a Stir chef who gives a class based on the featured cookbook, not the chef itself. Has anyone attended one of these who can confirm how the format is structured?

            1. re: newyorker1

              Oh. Then I apologize... and am glad I didn't sign up right away. I would love to see and hear David Chang in the same room with food.

          2. The fish sauce vinaigrette (p 177) for roasted cauliflower (or brussels sprouts) is a really nice change from my basic roasting - next time I'll make the puffed rice with togarashi, but it's great without that layer too (p 159)

            1 Reply
            1. re: pitu

              The culiflower with fish sauce vinagrette was excellent. I also made the pig's head torchon. It was very good as well.