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Momofuku pickles

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True to my reputation of being a cookbook ‘neek’ (my son’s term of endearment for me-nerd and geek) I had the Momofuku cookbook on Amazon pre-order months before it was published. David Chang, the author, and owner/chef of this cult New York restaurant is a bit of renegade. The name means ‘lucky peach’ but also does sound a lot like motherfucker. Think Anthony Bourdain, but picture chubby and Korean. People queue up all day for his signature dishes; fried chicken with ginger, roasted pork belly, home-made noodles, steamed buns and pickles of every sort. When the book arrived I read it cover to cover over a weekend. His irreverent voice makes you laugh out loud and mouth-watering recipes make you want to get on the next plane to New York. (I went at Christmas and never got in-two hour wait in freezing cold)

Of course, the first two recipes I did were the easiest-the pickles and the ginger scallion noodles. Some of them take days to make but I reckon you could add some shortcuts. There is even a blog where (a bit like Julia and Julia) someone is cooking their way through the book.
http://momofukufor2.com/It’s actually quite good and gives you confidence to have a go yourself.

My mother used to make refrigerator pickles from the abundant kirby cucumbers in my father’s garden. I have tried to re-create them many times in my life but never to great success. One of the biggest problems is getting the right cucumbers. Britain’s crop is horrible; big, tasteless, poly tunnel giants, full of water and no flavor. Luckily though, Persian or Lebanese cucumbers are sold here in green grocers and Middle Eastern shops. Refreshingly sweet with firm flesh- you won’t need to peel or seed. It’s what a cucumber should taste like and they make great pickles as well. These keep for about 1 week refrigerated but I doubt they will stick around that long. I serve them as a snack alongside sushi or laced in a turkey sandwich with mayo and mustard. If you’re feeling ambitious try Chang’s slow roast pork belly and steamed buns to go with them.

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Momofuku cucumber pickles
prep time 15 minutes
makes 4 cups of pickles

8 Lebanese/Persian cucumbers
500ml/16 fl oz/2 cups very hot water
250ml/8 fl oz/1 cup rice wine vinegar
12 tbsps castor sugar
4 1/2 tsps sea or kosher salt

Trim the ends off the cucumbers and slice into .5cm or 1/4 inch thick pieces. Mix the remaining ingredients in medium bowl until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the cucumbers, cover and refrigerate for up to a week. They are very tasty even after one hour, so feel free to eat quickly thereafter.

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One Comment

  1. Trudi says:

    I love this cookbook! I got it as a Christmas gift from the other half after we visited NY last year and had some amazing noodles at the Momofuku Noodle Bar. These pickles look fantastic – must try.

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