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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:

          http://www.stirboston.com/

          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.

            2. Despite Chang's irritatingly boorish pontificating, and way too much of it at that, I am planning to selectively cook my way through this book. I like his food too much not to.

              So far, I've only done the hanger steak but used a fairly thin boneless rib eye instead. It was great, and I loved having extra ginger scallion sauce and pureed kimchi on hand to mess around with.

              I think I will wind up using this book more for the vegetables and sauces, maybe a technique here or there, than I will for the signature dishes that made Chang famous. I really recoil at any recipe that refers to 3 or 4 other recipes in the process. Though I do adore the kimchi stew so I may have to tackle that one with a lot of advance planning.

              Speaking of, can anyone recommend a well-stocked Korean market in NYC?

              5 Replies
              1. re: robotcoupe

                Anyone else making recipes from the Momofuku Cookbook?

                1. re: robotcoupe

                  robotcoupe, seach Korean on the Outer Borough board for more, but Assi Plaza in Flushing QNS has a dizzying array of kimchee and different chili pastes etc. Or the H Mart place on 32nd st (5/6Aves) Manhattan. Lots of other options all over the city, but those are the mega Korean food neighborhoods.

                  1. re: pitu

                    Anyone try the Asparagus with Miso Butter and poached egg? I found the Miso butter way too salty. Anyone else with experience with Miso Butter?

                    1. re: Torolover

                      I'm trying to cook all the Momofuku recipes and the miso butter was one of the first things I made. Mine was okay but because I'm trying to limit sodium I usually put less salt in everything and thus used less miso. This is true with all the book's recipes; I never add salt because there is already soy sauce, fish sauce, kimchi, etc.

                       
                      1. re: celestewoo

                        Did you try the Cherry tomatoes with tofu and Shiso? I found the sauce too sour..Perhaps it was my Sherry Vinegar?

                2. I'm reading it too- we are making the Ramen next weekend. We have the chicken feet, the pork neck bones, etc. I haven't been this excited about a cookbook in ages. he really spells it all out, but it also takes organization and nuance.

                  1. Just tried the pickled watermelon rind recipe. I was so excited about this one. Yuck. Way too sweet. The little bit of flesh that he says to leave on the rind was slimy and the rind itself was too crunchy (hard, fibrous) for my taste. I followed the recipe exactly. Has anyone else tried this? I'd love to know your results.

                    I might try it again, cutting the sugar, leaving no flesh on, and simmering the rind for longer.

                    1. Anyone think it's crazy that Noodle Bar serves fried chickens for $50 each? This guy's image and the vibe of his joints is kind of keeping me away from the book.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mrip541

                        I've eaten at Ssam bar many times and the food has never been less than fantastic. Many menu options - you can spend a little or a lot.

                        The book is worth looking at.