Bow down before me, mortals, it’s time to face facts. David Chang is one of the most celebrated, important chefs in New York, right? Right. His cooking is hardcore and bad-ass isn’t it? It is. So what does it mean that a mere amateur like me, a tiny speck on the giant tapestry of New York gastronomy, not only created one of Chang’s signature dishes at home–his Ginger Scalllion Noodles–but that I did it so accurately? So triumphantly? So magnificently? It means, I surmise, that I am the King of Awesomeness! BOW DOWN BEFORE ME, YOU HEATHENS.
Actually, no bowing is necessary. The truth is that this recipe is easy, breezy; so easy, that I gleaned it just from flipping through the new Momofuku Cookbook (a book that’ll be prominent on my holiday wish-list this year). It made me happy to see how easy this recipe was because Ginger Scallion Noodles are my favorite noodles to order at Momofuku Noodle Bar; they’re intensely flavored and yet really light and refreshing.
There are many surprises in the recipe, too. For example, the pickled cucumbers that come on top of the Ginger Scallion Noodles? They take 20 minutes and they’re made with salt and sugar.
That’s actually where you should begin if you want to make these noodles at home. Buy one or two Kirby cucumbers (though I’m sure other cucumbers might work too); slice them super thin. In a little bowl, combine 1 part salt to 3 parts sugar (NOTE: This is based just on my memory, I may be a little off; but that ratio worked—definitely double check in the book if you want to be super, super accurate).
Sprinkle the cucumbers with the salt sugar mixture. Toss around. Let sit for twenty minutes and taste. If they’re too mild, sprinkle with more salt and sugar. If they’re too intense, rinse with water, taste and re-season. It’s kind of fool-proof.
Next, make your dressing: the dressing should sit for at least 20 minutes too so making both this and the cucumbers first is a good way to go.
To make the dressing, you just combine a bunch of stuff in a bowl: 2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions, 1/2 cup minced ginger (I just grated the ginger on a box grater, it was easier), 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (I bought this just for this recipe and I’m glad I did: it has a nice, clean, neutral flavor), 1 1/2 tsps Usukuchi light soy sauce (I couldn’t find Usukuchi, so just used Kikkoman), 3/4 tsp sherry vinegar, and salt to taste.
You will find, when you make this dressing, that at the end you’ll have what looks like just a big bowl of wet scallions. Have faith, though–those wet scallions will work wonders.
Now’s the time to start cooking. Get a pot of water boiling (big enough to hold your noodles) and start browning cauliflower.
This part’s super easy. Take a non-stick skillet, add a splash of grapeseed oil (so it coats the bottom), heat until you can’t hold your hand over it and then toss in a big handful of cauliflower florets. Sprinkle with salt, toss all around and cook until golden brown and tender. See?
Just don’t add too much cauliflower at once or it’ll steam and not brown.
And that’s basically all the work you have to do to make this dinner. If you can find ramen noodles, add them to your water now; I couldn’t find ramen noodles (or at least unflavored ramen noodles) so I bought Soba noodles which worked perfectly well. Boil them for 5 minutes or so (following the package directions), taste to see if it’s done, drain and rinse and then drain again really well (I pressed down to get all the moisture out). Place in a large bowl and top with the dressing:
Toss all around and taste. I found that it needed a little more soy and a little more sherry vinegar, so I added it.
Lift into bowls and then top with the pickled cucumbers and the cauliflower. Voila!
You too can be the King or Queen of Awesomeness, just as long as you credit me as being the Supreme Ruler of Kings and Queens of Awesomeness. Deal? Deal.