Home Cooked

Home Cooked: Momofuku Chicken and Egg

I’m not even going to crack and ‘which came first’ jokes, because this dish is relatively simple and everyone should try it to fully understand how delicious it truly is. Flipping through the Momofuku cookbook, there were several recipes that I immediately thought to myself, “Wow that looks good, I have to try that ASAP”, and this dish was right up there at the top.

Chicken, post cooking, swimming in golden deliciousness

Prep

Prepare Brine: 1 Cup Sugar, 1 Cup salt, 8 cups water

Brine Chicken thighs(Bone removed, Skin on), for 1-6 hours

-Put chicken thighs in an oven safe container, cover with either pork or duck fat(I used duck), and add in a few pieces of smoky bacon (Key word: Smoky)

-Leave in the oven at 80C for 50 minutes.

-Heat a skillet, oil it, then lay the chicken thigh down, skin side first. Press the chicken down with a heavy pan(to keep it flat so that the skin browns evenly)

-Let it crisp for 3-4 minutes, remove immediately

-Serve with Sous vide egg(54C for 1 hr), and quick pickled cucumbers

Meat can also be refrigerated for up to a week after cooking

Pros:

Meat was delicious, the brine brought out the natural sweetness of the chicken, with a tinge of smokyness from the bacon. Cooking the meat confit style gave the chicken an unctuous mouthfeel, yet despite this, it wasn’t too heavy, something you could eat alot of(well, I could). The rich, creamy yolk of the sous vide egg is nicely balanced by the quick pickled cucumbers. I topped it off with some of Momofuku’s ‘Octo Vin’ sauce, which when eaten together with the chicken, gave it a sudden burst of freshness and acidity. I’m also convinced that there are not alot of things that the Octo Vin sauce don’t go well with, but thats another story.

Cons:

There isn’t much to say because truthfully, there aren’t alot of things I dislike about it. It should be noted that all bones should be carefully removed from the thigh to ensure that the meat is cooked evenly. Because it is cooked at a fairly low temperature and I had a piece of chicken that had a small bone stuck in it, when I cut into it, it was quite bloody in that area. Proper technique should also be used to get the skin really nice and crisp (Heavy Iron skillet, high heat, weighed down)

Thoughts:

One of the first thoughts that ran through my head was how to turn this into a sous vide recipe. I dont think it would be that difficult, and it would save on a lot of fat. Smokyness could either be incorporated into the chicken by adding liquid smoke to the brine, or heating the duck fat then placing smoky bacon into it, and allowing it to infuse in the fat, before vacuum sealing with the chicken. Other flavours could possibly be infused into the chicken, but I think this is simple comfort food at its best.

 

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Home Cooked

Home Cooked: Momofuku Ginger-Scallion Sauce


Noodles with Ginger-scallion sauce, Hoisin-Fish sauce, Egg and mushrooms sauteed in Umami butter

This post is long overdue. The moment I saw a photo of David Chang devouring a plate of noodles with this sauce in the Momofuku cookbook, I knew I had to try this. The combination of ginger and scallion isn’t new, its prevalent in Japanese cuisine, but its a combination that works.

And so the first thing I ever tried to reproduce from the momofuku cookbook is the Ginger-Scallion sauce; I didn’t measure out the ingredients too precisely the first time I tried it, because I just wanted to get a rough idea on what the sauce tasted like and what it could do. I mixed it with some spaghetti (didn’t have noodles lying around) and roasted pork, then proceeded to take a bite. It was like a punch to the face, the heat from the raw ginger overpowered any other taste component in the sauce; all was not lost, however, because I liked the freshness of the scallions, and the sherry vinegar in the sauce cut richness of the roasted pork very nicely. There had to be a way to kill the raw ginger taste, or at least tone it down a little.

It says in the cookbook, “finely minced peeled fresh ginger”, the first time I made the sauce, I pushed cubes of ginger through a garlic press, this left fairly large chunks of ginger in the sauce. The second time, I decided to finely grate the ginger, this proved to be a lot harder than it sounds because ginger is very fibrous and the grater needed constant cleaning. Regardless, I ended up with a consistency that I would describe as a paste, which was good, I didn’t want to be biting into anymore chunks of ginger.

I did some research on the sauce online, and I found that some people had success with killing the heat by frying the sauce with noodles. I didn’t want to do this because it would kill some of the freshness and bite of the scallion, so I put the ginger paste in a non-stick pan with a little oil and I heat it on low-medium heat for a minute or two. I made the sauce as per instructions, then I tossed the noodles in simmering water, took them out, dried them and mixed the sauce into the noodles with my hands. The result was good, the taste of ginger was subtle and there was only a hint of heat, delicious. Its not hard to see why this is a mother sauce in Momofuku, and trust me, having a bowl of this sitting in the refrigerator will get you pretty excited about  leftover noodles.

Note: The sauce is not as flavourful as a tomato or espagnole sauce, and you shouldn’t expect it to be, that’s not what it brings to the table. Which is why I drizzled a sauce made from fish sauce and hoisin sauce over the noodles. David Chang uses hoisin sauce.

Ginger Scallion Sauce

Makes about 3 cups

Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. Though it’s best after 15 or 20 minutes of sitting, ginger scallion sauce is good from the minute it’s stirred together up to a day or two in the fridge. Use as directed, or apply as needed.

2½ cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)

½ cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger

¼ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil

1½ teaspoons soy sauce, preferably usukuchi (light soy sauce), found in Asian markets

¾ teaspoon sherry vinegar

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

New York

Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York

Pork Steamed bun
First Appitizer

Yes. this is Kong ba pao to most Asians. I have grown up eating Kong ba pao all my life, but this was good, very good; and thats saying alot, coming from a Chinese guy(Yes im using the race card). Pork was melt in your mouth fatty, sauce added the right amount of saltiness to the dish. Amazing, definitely one of the “must order” dishes in the noodle bar. Very good

Smoked chicken wings – pickled chili, garlic, scallions
2nd Appitizer

Sauce was somewhat thick and flavorful, chicken wings had a nice glaze and a great smoky aftertaste. I was also very happy that there was a liberal amount of spring onions in the dish, for some weird reason. Good

Momofuku ramen – pork belly, pork shoulder, poached egg
First Main

Egg was nicely cooked, Pork was tender, noodles had a very nice texture. But the soup and pork meat was not very flavorful, I’ve had much, much better ramen broths. A forgettable dish, Okay.

Roasted monkfish wrapped in pancetta, with a garlic miso sauce
2nd main

Very well cooked piece of fish, tender but had a good bite to it. Pancetta did not impart much flavor to the dish but added a nice crisp outer skin on the fish. Garlic miso sauce was amazingly, very nice combination of saltiness from the miso, and of course the lingering garlicky kick at the end.

Blackberry soft serve ice cream + Olive oil cake crumble

Stopped by for dessert after lunch at the noodle bar. Ice cream was very intensely flavored, very tart and somewhat overpowering. Olive oil crumble added a nice texture, but the taste of olive oil was faint. Okay

Its hard to judge a restaurant based on a lunch prix fixe menu, and noodle bar isn’t even David Changs flagship restaurant. But from the few dishes I had, he seems to know his Asian cuisine well, and its refreshing to have someone using Asian techniques on quality ingredients, that, in my opinion, is how many dishes are taken to the next level. Many Americans have a misconception of Asian cuisine, even more so in a cosmopolitan state like New York, we dont have Panda Express in Asia, we dont eat Kung Pao chicken Orange Glazed chicken(Even though, admittedly, they are at times, delicious), we dont have fortune cookies after meals; its good to know at least David Chang is serving up Asian fare in Ne