This is the final post in this week of Momofuku recipes and the second that I actually tried at the restaurant back in May 2009. When I visited Ssam Bar the temperature was nice and high so the restaurant was a welcome escape from the heat, which was slightly getting the better of me. It was therefore maybe an odd choice to choose a dish laden with whole red chilles, szechuan peppercorns, toban djan (chilli bean paste) and chilli powder, but then hot food and drink does supposedly cool you down so maybe not. Whether or not it was the best choice for the day it was definitely the perfect choice for me, I loved this dish. Yes there is a lot of chilli in it and yes it is hot but it’s a heat that felt more warming then blow your head off, and I’m not even good with really spicy food. Its actually quite easy to make but it does require quite a lot of ingredients that you may not, okay most likely wont have around, or easily find, but I know this dish will get made again so the things I bought will definitely be used.
Spicy Pork Sausage & Rice Cakes – Momofuku Cookbook
Serves 4 – 6
½ cup grapseed or other neutral oil
3 large onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
2 ½ tsp kosher salt
1 pound ground pork
2 very loosely packed cups dried red chillies
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tblsp toban djan (jarred Chinese fermented chilli bean sauce) or ssamjang (Korean version)
1 tblsp szechuan peppercorns
1 tblsp kochukaru (Korean chilli powder or substitute with mild chilli)
6 tblsp water
1 tblsp usukuchi (light soy sauce)
1 tblsp sugar
2 cups sliced or coarsely chopped Chinese vegetables, such as bok choy
8 long cylindrical rice sticks, cut into 1-inch lengths (I substituted thin sliced rice sticks)
8 ounces silken tofu
1 cup sliced scallions, greens and whites
½ cup packaged Chinese fried shallots
1. Heat 2 tblsp of the oil in a wide frying pan set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, a minute or two, add the onions with ½ tsp salt. Cook stirring now and then until the onions start to colour and shrink, around 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook the onions for around 20 mintues more, turning them over on themselves every 5 minutes or so, until golden and sweet.
2. Meanwhile heat another tblsp of oil in a wide frying pan set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot add the meat and cook, breaking it up with a spatula or spoon, for around 10 minutes just until the meat looses it pink rawness. Transfer the meat to a bowl and put the pan back on the stove.
3. Add the 5 remaining tblsp of oil to the pan and turn the heat down to medium and let the the oil heat up for a minute. Add the dried chillies to the pan and warm through for a minute until fragrant. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute to infuse the oil with its flavour. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chilli bean paste, szechuan peppercorns, chilli powder. Set aside until the onions are finished cooking.
4. Add the water, cooked onions, and pork to the pan with the chilli sauce and stir to combine. Add the sugar, soy and the remaining 2 tsp salt and stir in. You can cool and refrigerate (few days) or freeze (few weeks) the sauce at this point, if needed.
5. Meanwhile put a large pot of water onto boil and salt well.
6. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and add in the chopped greens. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally until tender.
7. Add the rice cakes to the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes and warmed through. If using the thin sliced rice cakes these only take 30 seconds in the boiling water. Drain and add to the pan with the pork. Whisk the tofu until creamy then stir into the pork mixture.
8. Divide between serving bowls and top with scallions and fried shallots and serve immediately.