A panoply of eccentric biographical data RE: chefdom’s fretful ramen master.
HE IS the Virginia-raised son of Korean immigrants—educated in Vienna, a suburb of Washington, D.C., but well acquainted with Richmond, where his father had a business. Culinarily, this background has come to bear on such Chang creations as his Honeycrisp-apple kimchi with jowl bacon and Noodle Bar’s fried chicken served two ways, southern-style and Korean-style.
HIS FAVORITE extra-vocational activity is fly-fishing, which satisfies him, paradoxically, “because it’s constant dissatisfaction.”
HE HAS spent much of his life deliberately evading anything that smacks of normalcy. Of late, however, he finds himself thinking, “Man, normal might be really nice right now.”
So, as some of you may know, I fucking love anything involving Momofuku. Their magazine? Fuckin beautiful. Their milk bar? the bomb.com. their noodle bar? Fantastic.
One thing that I’ve never tried of theres, but always wanted to make was this really cool take on a pork bun that sort of a pork belly sandwich thingy, so I decided I’d do my own take on this really cool recipe.
And since this recipe is kind of an homage to the classic chinese pork bun, I decided I’d make this recipe an homage to the flippin adorable China from Hetalia, because he is just so perfect and important ok omg.
Enjoy, nerds. Enjoy.
Momofuku-style Pork Belly Buns (serves: 16 cute lil buns) adapted from: x
Ingredients for pork-
2 lbs pork belly
some herb salt
3 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
6 Tbsp packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp coconut sugar*
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp tamari sauce*
½ cup water
fresh cucumber slices
kewpie mayo (optional)
hoisin sauce (optional)
*you can sub out tamari for soy sauce, but for those of you who can’t eat gluten, I recommend tamari since it, you know, is void of fucking gluten
* you can replace the coconut sugar with light brown sugar, granulated sugar, or palm sugar
Ingredients for buns-
1 cup warm water (105-115°F), divided
1 packet active dry yeast
3 Tbsp sugar plus a pinch
2 Tbsp nonfat dried milk
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 cup white rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Canola oil for greasing and brushing
Preheat an oven up to 275 F, sprinkle some herb salt onto your pork belly and then and wrap the pork up in tin foil till it’s covered. Wrap it in some more tin foil till it’s hella covered and then throw that shit into the oven for 2 hours. Don’t fall asleep white it’s cooking like me. Don’t cry like a shitbaby before going and buying more pork belly because you fucked up the first batch.
Once the pork belly’s done roasting, throw it in the fridge for about 1 or 2 days, let that shit chill and try not to eat some of it even though it’s gonna taste like delicious bacon.
When the two days are up and the pork’s done doing it’s groove thang, get started on the buns. Add ¼ cup of warm water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar into a small bowl and mix to combine. Wait till the yeast is foamy, then add the rest of the warm water and dried milk to the mixture.
In a large bowl, mix the flours and remaining sugar together, then add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix to combine. Knead that motherfucker hardcore until the dough is elastically, then let it sit in a well oiler bowl covered in saran wrap for like 2 hours.
Once the two hours are up, punch the poofed up dough and then flatten it slightly till it forms a sort of disc-y thing. Add the baking powder into the middle and then knead until the baking powder’s incorporated into the dough. Let it sit for like another 30 minutes.
After you’ve let it sit, get some wax paper and cut 16 medium sized squares. Take the dough and roll it into an approximate 16 inch long log thing and the cut that into about 16 pieces.
Roll each dough piece out with a rolling pin until the’re like flat disc things, brush some oil onto them, and then fold them all in half so they look like weird tacos. Place them all on their own wax paper things, cover them in saran wrap lightly and let them rest for another 30 minutes.
In the meantime, drizzle some cooking oil onto a pan and fry up the pork belly pieces until they start to brown. While you’re cooking that, whisk and combine the garlic, ginger, water, tamari, sugars and fish sauce in a small bowl. Once the pork belly’s browned enough, add the sauce mixture, coat the belly pieces and let it rest, covered, under low heat.
Get a large pot and a steaming rack or a bamboo steamer. Add water to the pot until it’s about 2 inches high, and then add the bamboo steamer/steamer rack into the pot, making sure that the water won’t touch the buns once they’re in there.
Once the water’s simmering, place the buns in there for about 10-12 minutes. Do about 5 buns at a time so they’re not crowded, and then place them all under a towel so they stay moist.
Once all the buns are done, remove the wax paper from them. The pork should be done around now, too, so remove those delicious lil nuggets from the heat and slice them thinner if you choose to.
Open the bun a little and drizzle some kewpie mayo onto there. Add some cucumber slices, some pork belly, and a little bit of hoisin.
Do this to the rest of the buns, and then serve them only to people you truly love, because these buns are too beautiful to give away to dumb butts.
Or eat them by yourself and cry over how perfect they are. I know I’d do that.
I actually totally did that tho lmao.
HOLY SHIT YOU JUST MAKE SOME MOMOFUKU-STYLE PORK BELLY BUNS.
There are 3 really good things about this: 1) You get to eat hella good food
2) Pork belly is like cheap as fuck. So you can totally get 2 lbs of it no problem, homie. And when you serve these lil shits at parties, people will feel really guily because they’ll think these are expensive as balls, so they’ll totally buy you super expensive gifts for your BDAY to make up for it ayyoo.
3) You can eat these while watching China get into hilarious escapades on Hetalia and you’ll feel just a wee bit closer to the adorable lil nugget.
So yeah. Enjoy that. Enjoy everything that comes with these buns of glory.
Christina Tosi Corn Cookies with Lazy Blueberry Ice Cream
Short of the Oreo McFlurry, there is no dessert finer than Christina Tosi’s Corn Cookies. Perfectly crunchy, with a tender, chewy center, we could seriously eat them all day. Add a little blueberry ice cream, and we could eat them all night, too.
These walk the line of salty-sweetness in a big way. It maybe is an acquired taste but, we promise, not as weird as it sounds. Corn, especially when freeze dried like this recipe requires, is so candy sweet, it hardly counts as a vegetable. Instead, it brings a grassy– almost buttery– top note to the cookie that reminds us of the flawless almond cookies at our favorite Chinese takeout spot.
The recipe for the cookies has a few mandatory details that might seem fussy at first glance but are totally essential to the recipe. The extra-long butter-creaming, and deep chill on the dough are what give the cookies their perfect, sandwich-able texture. Measuring by weight keeps the hard-to-measure ingredients like freeze dried corn chunks in the right ratio, helping you avoid aggressively corn-y cardboard-y garbage. But don’t worry. We’ll make the kerfuffle up to you with the easiest blueberry ice cream ever.
65 g freeze-dried corn, smashed into a rough powder
3 g baking powder
1.5 g baking soda
6 g kosher salt
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the Butter and Sugar together for 5 minutes at a medium-high speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and cream it for another 5 minutes. Shift your mixer down to medium, add the Egg (no shell, duh), and let it blend for another minute.
Whisk together the Dry Ingredients. Fold into the Butter mixture by hand until hardly combined. Scoop into 2 ½ tbsp lumps, place on a parchment (or Silpat!) lined bake sheet and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. They say you can leave these chilling for up to a week but we wouldn’t know. Around the two-hour mark we both lose all sense of will-power, and start eating them like bonbons.
Bake in an oven preheated to 350° for 18 minutes. If your oven’s weird like Rachel’s, rotate halfway through for evenly golden brown cookies. Eat them plain or stuff them with the ice cream recipe that follows.
Lazy Blueberry Ice Cream
1 pint good-quality Vanilla Ice Cream – we keep a pint of Bobtail Ice Cream’s vanilla in both of our freezers at all times, but you can probably just roll with our two college boyfriends or the made-up german stuff.
½ cup Blueberry Preserves – Bon Maman is pretty clutch.
½ cup Blueberries – fresh or frozen
While you make your cookies, leave the Ice Cream out to soften. Stir in the Preserves and Blueberries until smooth. Or mostly smooth. Swirls are nice. Let’s not make this harder than it needs to be. Once satisfied, pop it back into the freezer while the cookie dough chills.
While the cookies bake, scoop your newly Blueberry Ice Cream into lumps about the same size as each Cookie Blob. Place in the freezer until the cookies are cool enough to handle, and sandwich that shit up.