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[personal profile] nonelvis
Back in April, I visited my family in DC, and I lucked out, foodwise: my hotel was just a few blocks from Momofuku's DC outpost. I had their chilled Szechuan noodles with pork, Thai basil, and cashews and vowed then and there I'd replicate the dish at home if I could.

Which I have, or near enough for my purposes.

Chilled Szechuan noodles with pork


First off, I must thank my server. He volunteered that there was spinach in the basil purée, which I would not have guessed, but which helped explain the vibrant green color. He also told me that they made the sausage themselves, and I thought, aha, I know how to do that, because it's in the Momofuku cookbook. Without that information, I would not have this recipe to share with you today.

Note: I haven't tested the recipe instructions with anyone other than myself! And you'll find that they reflect the way I cook, which is mostly "ehhhhh, measurements, what are those." But I did weigh or measure at least some of the things, so you're not left completely in the dark.

CHILLED SZECHUAN NOODLES WITH BASIL, PORK, AND CANDIED CASHEWS
This recipe calls for multiple components. In fact, I made it over a couple of days, candying the cashews and making chile oil on one day and doing the rest on the day of. But basically, once you have the different components together, it's not that hard.

Serves two.

Candied cashews
2oz candied cashews (see step 1)

Momofuku's pork sausage (modified version of http://www.tastebook.com/blog/recipes/5036623-spicy-pork-sausage-rice-cakes/)
3/4lb. ground pork
3 tbsp chile oil*
2 small or medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1.5 tbsp ssamjang** (Korean spicy dipping sauce) or Chinese chile-black bean sauce
2 tsp Szechuan peppercorns (NOT pink peppercorns. Szechuan ones, which strictly speaking, aren't peppercorns)
2 tsp Korean chile flakes (gochugaru)

Basil-spinach purée
2oz fresh basil (ideally Thai basil)
1oz fresh spinach
1/4 cup chile oil

Ramen
10oz fresh ramen (NOT DRIED. I love dried ramen as much as the next person, but fresh will work better here.)

1) Make the candied cashews: I used the technique from https://smittenkitchen.com/2008/12/sugar-and-spice-candied-nuts/, but with all brown sugar, and spiced with cayenne pepper, salt, smoked paprika, and a hint of ground allspice. (No cinnamon, which would have the wrong flavor profile here.) I also cut the recipe down by 1/8 so that I only had 2oz of cashews at the end, because I knew that having a full pound of them around would be a problem. Now, if you're cutting things down that much, you literally will need only 1tsp of egg white, which is a bit nuts (no pun intended), but hey, it works.

What I'm saying is: the amount you make and how you spice them is up to you, but aim for spicy + smoke.

Cool the nuts and chop into rough 1/4” bits – not too tiny, but not giant chunks, either.

2) Make the pork: Heat the chile oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add garlic and stir until fragrant (about a minute). Add pork until just cooked; stir in ssamjang, Szechuan peppercorns, and gochugaru, and cook for another minute or so, until everything is warmed through. Set aside while you finish the other two parts.

3) Start heating up your water for boiling the ramen. You’ll need it soon.

4) Make the basil-spinach purée: Stem the basil and whomp it and the spinach in a food processor with the chile oil until everything is well-puréed but not yet paste. This shouldn’t take more than a minute or so.

5) Boil the ramen according to package directions. (Mine needed to be cooked for three minutes.) Drain and rinse under cold water thoroughly until chilled. Toss the cooked ramen with the basil-spinach purée and if desired, a tablespoon or two of additional chile oil.

6) Assembly: Split ramen noodles between two bowls and spoon pork and cashews over each one. Eat happily.

*Chile oil: I made my own because I could not bring myself to buy something I could make so easily. (But there are already a ton of steps and components to this recipe, so honestly, I won't blame you if you use oil you bought.) There are a bunch of recipes online, but I just lightly toasted 8-10 dried japonica chiles, simmered gently in a cup of canola oil for about five minutes, and let it steep overnight.

**Ssamjang: This is available at Korean grocery stores, but it's also easy to make if you keep other Korean ingredients (like hot pepper and soybean pastes) around. I used Maangchi's recipe: https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/ssamjang.

on 2017-06-12 10:39 pm (UTC)
np_complete: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] np_complete
Logging in for the first time since, oh, March, to say I love the way you wrote this recipe! And even though I have a hard time these days organizing toast, I still want to try this!

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