I’m so happy that after a long while of not posting (I was very busy with the cupcakes), I’m back with a really happy post. Guess what, I’ve been chosen to participate in this month’s Foodbuzz 24×24! Yep, this is my fourth participation and as always, I’m hoping that it’s not the last 🙂 For some of you who still don’t know, Foodbuzz 24×24 is a monthly roundup of 24 epic meals hosted by 24 Foodbuzz Featured Publishers in 24 different parts of the world.
I proposed to recreate David Chang’s dishes and host my version of a Momofuku dinner at home. Armed with my Momofuku book, I went on to plan my menu. It actually is pretty simple and I didn’t dare make it to be far more complex than it is. Novice chef here, friends.
If you have the book or have had the experience of making the dishes from there, you would agree that it takes a lot of patience and determination to even just come up with a bowl of ramen. Shortcuts is not in Momofuku’s dictionary. Every element of a dish has to be made from scratch. Add to that the issue of sourcing ingredients, at least from my side of the planet (Manila).
All these add up to the excitement and if not only for the love of all things Momofuku, I wouldn’t even dare flex some muscles on a Friday night just to create a 3-course dinner for hubby. But it’s Momofuku fellas and I love the challenge so let’s bring it on! 😛
CHERRY TOMATO SALAD
A Momofuku Noodle Bar Recipe
(recipe to be posted separately)
According to the book, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, definitely one of the greatest chefs alive (but the noob me only heard about him from my chef crush Johnny Iuzzini), considers this dish as the best dish David Chang has ever come up with. That was a big remark coming from such a great man and it made me wonder what the salad is all about. Hence, the first dish in my FB24x24 Momofuku menu.
David Chang’s team used tofu which basically could do what a mozzarella does in a traditional caprese salad, i.e., to moderate the acidity of the tomatoes and give some creaminess to the dish.
However, the recipe also calls for Shiso or Japanese mint. Shiso and basil are like long-lost relatives in that they are both minty. Now this is the hard part. I’ve searched all places I’ve been to in Metro Manila and couldn’t find Shiso. I’ve posted a shoutout over at Facebook so that friends can yell back if they have info where to find Shiso but only one replied (this makes me rethink about cleaning up my FB friends :P). I’ve scouted several Japanese grocery stores and still came home unlucky.
Fortunately, the book says that they already made several tweaks on the dish and the Ssam Bar team has already made use of Thai purple basil. Hallelujah!
So there goes my version of the Momofuku Cherry tomato salad with silken tofu and purple basil. And as David Chang says, “it’s a world away from an Italian salad, but a riff on a combination and approach to showcasing tomatoes we knew would work.”
MOMOFUKU PORK BUNS
A Momofuku Noodle Bar Recipe
For the love of pork, I really claim that of all the dishes I followed from recipe books down to the dot, this is the best pork dish I’ve ever tried. And if Momofuku is really famous for something, it’s the steamed pork buns I tell ya.
I’ve already posted my blow-by-blow account to making steamed pork buns somewhere in this blog. I can not forget that day when I had to prepare everything as early as 11am if only to be able to eat dinner by 7pm. Aah, a glorious dinner after such a hard work never fails to make me beam with pride. Now, go compute how much time I need to prepare a dinner with all things Momofuku in the menu. Really, go figure.
Time was my worst enemy preparing for this dinner. I didn’t have much time because I had to work on the day of the dinner. When time is of the essence, I kept on thinking about ways to help me save time.
I remember David Chang saying that because of the small space they had in their kitchen, they had to order steamed buns from May May Foods, a company that supplied dozens of New York restaurants with pre-made buns, or even from other bakeries in Chinatown when May May closed. His advice was: if you have that option – a Chinese bakery or restaurant where you can easily buy them, or even a well-stocked freezer section at a local Chinese grocery store – I encourage you to exercise it without any pangs of guilt. How many sandwich shops bake their own bread? Right. Don’t kill yourself. But don’t be put off by the idea of making them either.”
So, should I buy pre-made buns or not? That was my issue. Well, I opted to make the buns myself. I have already made everything up to this point and buying pre-made ones will not make me feel better. Besides, I made gorgeous roast pork. Why would I want them to be sandwiched in buns that I don’t make myself!
Fine, I’ve made this dish before but guess what, there’s still something I haven’t done. And it’s in the very last sentence of the recipe. Serve with sriracha.
Srira-what? Okay, I’ve heard about it from friends who are in love with Thai dishes but again, finding one in the Philippines is also a challenge. Most supermarkets carry Thai sauces, the common one being the sweet-chili kind. What the recipe calls for is Sriracha hot sauce or salsa picante. Can I use any other hot sauce? Most probably, but I just want to stick to what the recipe calls for as closely as possible.
Thank God I found one yesterday at Rustan’s Supermarket. And it’s the last bottle of Sriracha left. Whew!
MOMOFUKU CEREAL MILK
A Momofuku Milk Bar Recipe
(find the recipe here)
I love milk but of all the milks I’ve tasted, there has to be one that takes the top spot. And for me, the best milk I’ve ever tried is this brainchild of Chef Christina Tosi of Momofuku. It’s called cereal milk. As the name implies, it’s made of cornflakes and milk. Yup, the kind of milk you would save for one last slurp when you have a bowl of cereal for breakfast. This milk is uber good, I promise! 🙂
I’m happy drinking the milk by itself but for our dinner, I paired it with another equally fantastic dessert.
MOMOFUKU CRACK PIE
A Momofuku Milk Bar Recipe
(find the recipe here)
As to why it’s called a Crack Pie, I don’t really know because there doesn’t seem to be any crack on the pie itself. I’m just guessing it’s called that way because it is so damn good that it cracks up anyone who ever gets to try it. Or maybe because it can crack your wallet since one pie costs about US$44? 😛
Seriously, for something made of simple egg yolks and vanilla, this is pretty damn good. And it’s famous. I heard that because it’s so famous, Momofuku had to trademark the name “Crack Pie.”
So that’s our Momofuku Dinner At Home.
- Salad – Cherry Tomato Salad with silken tofu, sherry vinaigrette and purple mint (version 1 of the book says it should be Shiso)
- Main Dish – Steamed Pork Buns served with hoisin sauce, picked cucumbers, and Sriracha sauce
- Dessert – Cereal Milk with Crack Pie
A detailed recipe for the Steamed Pork Buns has already been posted. However, I still owe you the recipes for the salad, the cereal milk, and crack pie. I’ll be posting them shortly.
While we had some bottles of wine at home, we opted to do away with alcohol because there’s really just one beverage that stood out that night. Of course, the cereal milk 🙂
Hubby was overly happy and impressed with dinner. He knew it was all hard work but everything’s all worth it. I knew I had to stay away from shortcuts and do things from scratch. Besides, the hard work is somehow parallel, albeit in a much much smaller scale, with the struggles Momofuku had to go through.
I just get really inspired to work harder and make more gastronomic meals with what David Chang says “I don’t think it [the success of Momofuku] could have happened if we had been more successful on the get-go. The way we operate now is because of all that ridiculous shit we went through on the way.” 🙂
Thus, I thank Foodbuzz for this opportunity to recreate a Momofuku dinner at home and more importantly, David Chang and Peter Meehan for one hell of an inspiring book.
I hope you guys enjoyed checking out my version of a Momofuku dinner at home the same way I enjoyed preparing for it… and feasting on the delicious food, of course 🙂