Saturday, August 21, 2010

Momofuku Experiment

Remember how I mentioned that Brigham loves Momofuku (the restaurant group based in the East Village in New York City)?  And how Niall is really interested in Momofuku's food and wants to try as much as possible?  But we didn't eat there when we went to NYC because it's not super vegetarian friendly?  It's okay if you don't.

But, anyway, in an attempt to learn more about cooking Asian food and making it so Niall can eat it, we're embarking on an experiment.

Step One.  Get the Momofuku cookbook.  Done.  It hasn't been released in the UK yet but Niall got the US version for Father's Day.

Step Two.  Read the book and try and try to get as many of the commonly used ingredients to have on hand.  I've read most of the book and yeah, there's meat in almost everything.  (Mmm...pork.)  After hitting up four Asian stores, three butchers and spending about 60 pounds I think we have enough of the ingredients to give this a go.

It was really interesting browsing the different Asian markets trying to find the ingredients.  I'm such a novice with making Asian food.  A few things we had on hand or we've bought before.  But the majority of the ingredients neither Niall nor I have ever used (or seen).  And most often I ended up having to ask the store clerk for help and then found out what I wanted was right in front of my face.

In case you're interested, here's the checklist I've been using:
  • Flour and water lo mein noodles
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Pork belly (skinless)
  • Nori (the dried seaweed commonly used to roll sushi)
  • Scallions
  • Bamboo shoots (canned)
  • Mirin (rice wine)
  • Meaty pork bones (mostly neck)
  • Konbu (Japanese kelp, dried in flat sheets)
  • Dried Shiitake mushrooms
  • Cheesecloth (okay, this is material and not an ingredient, but I still need it)
  • Sake (Japanese rice spirit)
  • Usukuchi (light soy sauce)
  • Dried scallions (I'm hoping drying fresh scallions is good enough)
  • Katsuo-bushi (dried fish flakes)
  • Grapeseed oil (I still don't have this)
  • Sherry vinegar (I don't have this either!)
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sesame seeds
  • Mochi/rice cake sticks (frozen-in long tubes)
  • Ssamjang sauce (fermented bean and chili sauce)
  • Mustard seeds
  • Kochukaru (korean chile powder)
  • Fish sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Denjang (Korean fermented bean pate)
  • Shiro (white) Miso  (I'm hoping this means the soup, otherwise I'm not sure)
  • Coriander seeds
  • Szechuan peppercorns
  • Kewpie mayo
Step Three.  Start making the recipes from the book, as closely as possible, including the meat.  Please could you come by for dinner so I don't have to eat all the meat alone?

Step Four.  Once I have a vague idea (hey, the best I can do with my cooking skills) of what some of the sauces and recipes are taste like then we can try making vegetarian versions inspired by the cookbook.  Heaven knows we have enough ingredients to do some experimenting.

So, yeah.  That's the experiment.  Wish us luck.  Hopefully Niall will eventually get to eat something.

1 comment:

Brigham said...

This is a journey I'm excited for.

White miso means the paste that you make the soup with, not like a can of miso soup.

And it is not very white in color.

And instead of grapeseed you can use another neutral oil. I had a hard time finding grapeseed oil at first, now it's everywhere I look.