Herbs, spices, sauces, and other strange ingredients in the Momofuku Ssäm Bar Recipes

Ssäm Bar Recipes have even stranger ingredients than Noodle Bar Recipes based on the transglutaminase (meat glue) alone. A quick Google search showed me that I can buy a 1kg bag of Activa brand transglutaminase for $88. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find a smaller quantity somewhere, otherwise I have the feeling that you’ll be seeing a lot of posts on frankensteinish meats soon. (I’m thinking chicken-quail-pork roulade!)

The numbers in brackets denotes which recipe the ingredient is used in when you look at the Master Ssäm Bar list.

baking powder (30)
bay leaves (29)
canned lychee juice (31)
Chinese five spice (28)
Chinese hot mustard (16)
cinnamon stick (29)
coriander seeds (6)
dijon mustard (16)
dried red chili (8)
dried scallops (8)
dried shrimp (8)
elderflower syrup (31)
fish sauce (17, 19, 28)
flour (17, 26)
gelatin (2, 3)
grapeseed oil (4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 20, 24, 25, 26)
green yuzu kosho (1, 5)
icing sugar (30, 33)
instant coffee (7)
Japanese mustard (26)
kewpie mayonnaise (5, 16, 22, 26, 27)
kochujan (13)
kochukaru (20)
kosher salt (6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 33)
light brown sugar (12, 30)
maple syrup (11)
olive oil (11)
panko (26)
pepper (3, 9, 11, 14, 16, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26)
pink salt (29)
pistachios (9)
puffed rice (10)
rice wine vinegar (2, 3, 19, 26)
sea salt (4, 9, 12, 14, 15, 17, 23)
sesame oil (14)
sherry vinegar (7, 9, 13)
shichimi togarashi (10)
Sichuan peppercorns (6, 20)
sriracha (7, 17, 27)
ssämjang (13, 20)
star anise (29)
sugar (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 17, 19, 20, 28, 30, 31, 32)
thyme (23, 25)
transglutaminase (25)
usukuchi (6, 14, 20)
vegetable shortening (30)
wakame chazuke (6)

Chicken Wings

chicken wings and rice

These chicken wings are touted as “the world’s longest recipe for chicken wings” and it’s true, they aren’t the kind of chicken wings you throw together on a Wednesday night, but they are really, really good. If you do most of the preparation a day or two before, actual cooking time is not that bad and totally worth it.

chicken wings, bacon and pork fat

The chicken wings follow the same kind of preparation as the chicken in Momofuku’s Chicken & Egg, so if you have your chicken wings waiting for you in the fridge, you’re good to go. If you don’t, basically, you confit your wings and some bacon in pork fat to infuse the chicken with a rich smokiness and then let the wings chill completely in the fat.

pan frying chicken wings in cast-iron skillet

When you’re ready to eat, heat up the fat, strain out the chicken wings and pat dry. The chicken won’t look anything close to cooked, but don’t worry, then wings are then pan fried in a cast-iron skillet until deeply browned and then tossed with a sauce made with taré (luckily I had some extra in the fridge), the confit fat, sliced garlic and pickled chilies. Toss some green onions on for garnish and it’s good eats, especially with rice.

chicken wings tossed in sauce

Sweet, spicy, juicy and crispy, these were some good chicken wings, but what really made the wings shine was the sauce. Save any left over sauce you have because its delicious as a dipping sauce or on rice or noodles.

rice topped with sesame seed and nori


sweet, spicy, crisp and juicy, these wings are great with rice

really, really good wings

Ssäm Bar Recipe List

Continuing with my obsessive-compulsive lists…What can I say? It’s compulsive, obsessive, obsessive-compulsive. I can truly say that I’ve spent hours on these lists. How many hours, I am not willing to disclose.

Ssäm Bar Recipes (The numbers beside the recipes correspond to the recipes that you need: ie. pork belly ssäm needs recipe #16 – mustard seed sauce. NB stands for Noodle Bar recipe needed.)
1. oyster garnishes x 3 (requires NB15, NB16)
2. melon gelée for oysters
3. kimchi consommé for oysters (requires NB16)
4. bay scallops with dashi, chive oil, pineapple (requires NB4)
5. maine jonah crab claws with yuzu mayonnaise
6. cured hamachi
7. country ham with red eye mayonnaise (requires NB9)
8. xo sauce with 3 vegetables
9. roasted mushroom salad (requires NB4, NB15)
10. fried/roasted cauliflower or brussels sprouts (requires 19)
11. fuji apple salad (requires NB16)
12. bo ssäm (requires NB10, NB16, 13)
13. ssäm sauce
14. marinated hanger steak ssäm (requires NB10, NB16)
15. pork belly ssäm (requires 16)
16. mustard seed sauce (requires NB15)
17. grilled lemongrass pork sausage ssäm (requires 18, 19)
18. pickled carrot & daikon julienne
19. fish sauce vinaigrette
20. spicy pork sausage & rice cake
21. pork shoulder steak (requires 22)
22. ramp ranch dressing (requires NB15)
23. pan-roasted dry-aged rib eye
24. confit/roasted fingerling potatoes
25. brick chicken
26. pig’s head torchon (requires NB15)
27. bánh mì (requires 18, 28, 29)
28. chicken liver terrine
29. ham terrine
30. momofuku shortcakes (requires 31, 32)
31. poached rhubarb
32. macerated strawberries

I wish there was a Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook

milk bar sign

A Milk Bar Cookbook would be awesome. I love sweet stuff and I would totally buy a soft-serve ice-cream machine if Chang ever decides to publish Christina Tosi’s fantastical creations.

cereal soft-serve

Update: A Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook is slated for Fall 2011!

Chicken & Egg

good eats on a rainy day

It’s hard not to love a dish made up of rice, chicken and eggs. Growing up I ate a lot of bowls of rice topped with chicken or eggs, but never really together, until I had oyako-don. Oyako-don means parent and child, which is fitting if you think about how you’re eating a hen and it’s egg. Traditional oyako-don is a delicious saucy mess of chicken and onions stewed in dashi, mirin and soy sauce. Lightly beaten eggs are added to the mix until barely cooked and the whole thing is put on top of a steaming bowl of rice. The saucy eggs mixed into white rice is divine.

chicken & egg

Chang’s Chicken and Egg was inspired by oyako-don, but is nothing like traditional oyako-dons you find in most Japanese restaurants. The chicken is cold-smoked for understated smokiness, onions are eliminated, and eggs are slow-poached.

de-boning chicken drumsticks

Compared to regular oyako-dons, Momofuku’s chicken and egg is a long process. Again, like many of his recipes, when you have everything prepared in advance, cooking time is not long, but the preparation is what kills you.

chicken in salt-sugar brine

The recipe calls for boneless legs but I substituted drumsticks, just because my local grocery store didn’t have whole legs at the time. I deboned the drumsticks, which I actually like doing. My mom taught me how to debone chicken when I was pretty young. I wanted to have a Japanese themed birthday party with homemade teriyaki chicken and of course she didn’t want to spend the extra money on deboned chicken. Deboning 10+ pounds of chicken gave me a lot of practice so now I’m pretty fast at it.

chicken and bacon in pork fat

After deboning, the chicken is cold-smoked, or if you don’t have a kettle grill (who does?) you can confit the chicken legs in pork fat with bacon in a 180˚F oven.

chicken in pork fat after its chilled completely

After 50 minutes in oven, the chicken is removed and completely cooled until the fat becomes solid again. I always wonder though, if pork fat solidifies so easily, what happens when we eat it? Does it solidify in our veins?! Sometimes, curiosity is not a good thing. Anyway, once your chicken is completely cool you can leave it in the fridge for up to a week.

chicken after being confited in pork fat

When you’re ready to eat and you’ve had the foresight to have your chicken and slow-poached eggs waiting for you in the fridge, the dish is really easy to put together. Start off by making some rice. I don’t know about yours, but my rice cooker takes about 45 minutes to cook rice. On top of that I recently bought a bag of koshihikari rice which needed to soak in water for 30 minutes before cooking.

koshihikari rice

Needless to say, even with my planning ahead, we still had a long wait ahead of us. While the rice cooker was doing it’s thing I made some quick-pickled cucumbers. Then I pan-fried the chicken skin side down in a cast-iron skillet using another cast-iron skillet to weigh it down.

pan-fried chicken being weighed down by another cast-iron skillet

When the rice was cooked, the eggs warmed under hot tap water, the chicken pan-fried, the green onions sliced and the cucumbers quick-pickled it was easy to toss everything into a bowl. And what a bowl it was! Perfect eats on a rainy day. Smoky, crisp-skinned chicken, crunchy cucumbers, poached egg broken into sticky short grain rice all came together into a glorious mess of flavours. This is comfort food at its best: simple, satisfying, warm-your-soul deliciousness.

chicken, quick-pickled cucumbers, rice, slow-poached egg, green onions

oh-so-juicy chicken

chicken & egg