Spicy Minced Pork Noodles with Candied Cashews and Crispy Shallots
I am not good at deconstructing a dish. I have tried before and the results may be edible but not terribly successful. I don’t always have the desire to recreate a dish but when it comes from a restaurant in a city I’m visiting, my only choice is to make it myself. This is the case with Momofuku’s Chilled Spicy Noodles. This dry noodle dish is full of spice and texture and umami flavor. If it was available to me, I would order it all the time.
I first had these noodles many years ago at the now-shuttered Momofuku CCDC in Washington DC. When I returned I was obsessed with making this dish myself and so began my journey to find the Momofuku recipe. In the end I never found an official version and along the way the dish morphed into something different, something that has whispers of the original dish, but if put side by side would not resemble the original in the least.
I began by looking through the Momofuku cookbook and when that didn’t yield any results, I began searching online for an official recipe, to no avail. What’s interesting is there isn’t one specific recipe for this dish. Momofuku’s blog explains the inspiration and iterations of the Chilled Spicy Noodles found in their restaurants. The dish is actually a little different depending on the chef and location. It shows that a recipe can be a living thing, adapting to locations and ingredients and seasons, still held together by the original inspiration.
This recipe is based on a version created by maede.for.you., inspired by Momofuku. In taste and presentation, I didn’t change much from the maede.for.you. recipe other than serving the dish hot rather than chilled. The spicy heat was already pulled back considerably and it was at a nice level that left your taste buds tingling but not annihilated – the Momofuku version could have that effect on those unused to spice and heat.
|Fresh Saimin from Sun Noodles|
Regarding ingredients one of the main changes I made was to use fresh noodles rather than packaged ramen. I feel that fresh noodles have more structure and chew than the dried, packaged type. I specifically opted to use Sun Noodle saimin noodles. The Sun Noodle company is based in Hawaii and their products are purportedly used in the Momofuku restaurants. While saimin noodles can now be found outside of the islands, they are uniquely associated with Hawaii and are a slightly chewier cousin to ramen.
I also made changes in the techniques used for the candied cashews and the crispy shallots. Regardless of the modifications, I remain grateful to maede.for.you. for initially breaking down the recipe and giving me a strong foundation to build this dish.
Don’t let the number of parts of this dish deter you. I believe the final product is worth the effort. Having said that, I offer some grocery store shortcuts in the Notes section that could save you some time, especially if you decide to make this on a weeknight.