Monday, March 09, 2009

Highlight #154: the momofuku way of eating greens

David Chang's Momofuku ssam bar is my favorite place in New York for group celebrations. Any time the party grows beyond eight people, a bo ssam feast becomes very feasible and rather affordable. As long as one remembers to call ahead and order the $200 whole pork butt slowly roasted to tender perfection, a table will be waiting with the appropriate Korean fixings for making bo ssam lettuce wraps when your friends arrive. In a restaurant that is otherwise packed every night, this advanced planning is a wonderful thing. (photos of the bo ssam from my J's birthday last year can be found here. Look for the giant meat thing towards the end of the post surrounded by tongs, which are provided to allow all the hungry people to pull off their own portions for the lettuce wrap. That primal act of tearing meat alone is fun enough for a celebration.)

While the bo ssam is undoubted sublime, my favorite taste at momofuku is actually the humble roasted brussels sprouts. Not generally ranking very high in most people's desirable vegetable list, this version from momofuku is a mind changer. First, the sprouts are roasted at high heat to a state that almost looks burnt. This ensures a smoky and caramelized flavor that is rather addictive. Second, the sprouts are tossed with a rather unique dressing. Neither American or of any specific Asian origin, the fish sauce, sugar, mint, and cilantro combination sounds odd, but really works. For extra crunch, momofuku serves this with puffed rice on top. But at home, I often make do with fried onion bits. Although, the puff rice version is also not impossible to reproduce using puff rice cereal per the following recipe from SeriousEats. Try it and you may become as addicted to it as we are.

Momofuku Brussels Sprouts (recipe copied from

- serves 8 as a side dish -


For Brussels sprouts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For dressing
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce (preferably Tiparos brand)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar (I have also tried honey and brown sugar, which worked great)
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro stems
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (1 1/2-inch) fresh red Thai chile, thinly sliced crosswise, including seeds. (I used dried and halved the amount.)

For puffed rice (optional)
1/2 cup crisp rice cereal such as Rice Krispies
1/4 teaspoon canola oil
1/4 teaspoon shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice blend)


1. Preheat oven to 450°F (I only turn up to 400, finding that the higher temperature renders the sprouts too soft) with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Trim and halve the Brussels sprouts, toss with oil, and roast, cut side down on baking sheet, for 20-35 minutes (I only roast for 20 as the burnt becomes too severe after that), depending on size and desired taste. They should brown but remain somewhat firm.

2. Meanwhile, stir together the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.

3. If making puffed rice, cook ingredients together in a small skillet until toasted and slightly browned.

4. When sprouts are done, transfer to a serving bowl and add just enough dressing to coat. Top with more chopped mint or cilantro, and puffed rice if using.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this recipe--perfect timing! I have some brussels for tomorrow evening and we love momofuku.