dessert Filipino Instant Pot recipes

Mom’s Leche Flan (Instant Pot Version)

leche flan

My mom had a stroke 11 years ago and as a result, she hasn’t been able to do a lot of cooking since then, especially not something as fussy as making a leche flan. Last year (Christmas 2015), my mom said she wanted to make leche flan for Christmas. She tried to talk me through the process, but they didn’t turn out as well as she wanted, which frustrated and saddened her because making leche flan was one of her specialities.

As Christmas 2016 approached, I thought about making leche flan again, especially after seeing a sous vide version on Betty Ann Besa-Qurino’s blog. However, like many people in the last couple of years, I bought an Instant Pot on Amazon and have been fascinated with the cult-like community that has emerged. One of the first things I thought of doing when I got Instant Pot was seeing if you could pressure cook a leche flan. The answer is a definite “Yes,” and it’s so easy that making flan is no longer a chore.

I used my mom’s recipe, which I’ve modified since I originally posted it, and referred to Amy and Jacky’s Creme Caramel post at Pressure Cooker Recipes to figure out the timing. I used small ramekins to make this for Christmas, but you should be able to use any pan or mold that fits in the Instant Pot to make this.


7 egg yolks
1 egg
2 cups evaporated milk
1 tsp. lemon extract or lemon zest
1 cup sugar
Extra 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar to caramelize before adding the rest of the mixture


  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and gently whisk (or use a hand or stand mixer on the lowest speed) to mix the custard together. To ensure the smoothness of the custard, you should strain the mixture while before pouring it into the baking dish or mold.
  2. Place extra sugar in a small pan and heat it over medium heat until the sugar melts and browns.
  3. Pour caramelized sugar into your baking pan or mold so it coats the bottom.
  4. Add custard mixture to your baking pan or mold on top of the caramelized sugar.
  5. Cover the baking pan or mold with foil and place it into Instant Pot on top of the trivet or steaming rack. I was able to fit 4 small ramekins in my 6-quart Instant Pot.
  6. Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot.
  7. Cook on High for 9 minutes and let it naturally release.
  8. Remove from Instant Pot and let cool on the counter. You can also refrigerate the leche flan after it reaches room temperature if you’re making this ahead of time.
  9. When you’re ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the flan. Place a serving plate on top of the pan and invert it quickly. Be careful not to spill! When properly executed, the flan will be golden brown on top and yellowish on the bottom.
dessert Filipino recipes

Froot Loops Cereal Milk Philippine Ice Candy

Confession: The subject of this latest Kulinarya challenge is completely new to me!

I had never heard of Philippine Ice Candy until Jun Belen brought it up to me as we were discussing this month’s challenge. I was born in California and didn’t grow up eating Philippine ice candy. I grew up on Popsicles and Fudgesicles, Push-Ups and the occasional Otter Pop when I was at a friend’s house. Oh…and Thrifty ice cream. Remember when triple scoops of Thrifty’s legendary Chocolate Malted Krunch were 15 cents? Yeah…I’m that old. :)

Ice candy is typically made using long plastic bags that are tied at the top. These bags are usually 1½x10 inches and from what I hear, can be found in the US in Filipino markets. I didn’t have a chance to get to my usual spots, but I found 2×10 inch bags on eBay, which produce a thicker ice candy, which was just fine with me. Use your favorite popsicle mold if you can’t find the bags.

While doing research for this challenge, I loved seeing all the different ways ice candy is served in the Philippines; the use of fresh fruits is pretty mind-boggling. But if I was going to do this challenge any justice, I’d have to draw from the memories of my own American childhood.

Cereal Milk Ice Candy
Fruity Pebbles Ice Candy (center) guarded by Froot Loops Ice Candy.

Cereal milk has always been an indulgence, especially when artificially flavored fruity or chocolately cereals are involved. It’s analogous to the icing on the cake; an extra reward after finishing off something delectable and sweet. Over the past few years, cereal milk’s popularity grew when it became a drink and a featured ingredient at David Chang’s Momofuku Milk Bar. Bottles of cereal milk, cereal milk soft serve ice cream, and cereal milk panna cotta — along with Milk Bar’s compost cookie — made Momofuku pastry chef Christina Tosi famous, and the official Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook was released in October 2011.

You don’t really need to follow the recipe in the book…cereal milk is made by simply steeping cereal in milk and then straining it. Tosi adds a little brown sugar and salt after steeping to balance flavors, but your own taste buds will let you know if you’re satisfied with the flavor after steeping. Tosi’s recipes use toasted Corn Flakes, Fruity Pebbles, and Cap’n Crunch, but you can use whatever cereal you want. Serious Eats has a fantastic post about the best chocolate cereal to make chocolate cereal milk (they preferred Cocoa Puffs and I concur with them that Cocoa Pebbles are generally awful.

Making a batch of Cocoa Puffs cereal milk.

For this version, I used Froot Loops because they were my favorite fruity cereal when I was a kid (and I was always kind of a Kellogg’s loyalist). My first batch of cereal milk was made with Fruity Pebbles using the Momofuku recipe. I liked it a lot, especially for the color, but it was really sweet. I made a second batch with Froot Loops, which I freestyled, and was really happy with the results. Froot Loops aren’t as sweet as Fruity Pebbles, which I preferred, but you’ll miss out on the pretty peach pink color. The Momofuku cereal milk recipe is below, but feel free to make your cereal milk however you like. :)

Fruity Pebbles Cereal Milk (from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook)

2 cups (100g) Fruity Pebbles
3¾ cup (825g) cold milk (I used 1%)
2 Tbsp (30g) tightly packed light brown sugar
¼ tsp (1g) kosher salt

  1. Crush the Fruity Pebbles with your hands until it’s the texture of coarse sand.
  2. In a large pitcher, add milk and crushed cereal and stir vigorously. Steep mixture for 20 minutes at room temperature
  3. Strain milk into a bowl using a fine mesh sieve
  4. Whisk brown sugar and salt into the milk until fully dissolved. Store in a glass pitcher or milk jug, refrigerated, for up to one week. (I doubt it will last that long!)

Cereal Milk Ice Candy (inspired by Busog Sarap)

2 cups cereal milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar

  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl or blender and stir to combine.
  2. Use a funnel to fill the bags leaving enough room so you can tie them off at the top. Tina at Pinay in Texas has some really good instructions on how to do this.
  3. Place ice candy on flat on a tray or plate and put them in the freezer for at least 8 hours. When they’re ready, the ice candy will be firm but not rock hard.
  4. Cut the knot off the ice bag and enjoy! :)

You can join the Kulinarya Cooking Club too!
breakfast Filipino kulinarya recipes

Tocino and Blue Potato Hash

This is my first post for the Kulinarya Cooking Club, a collection of Filipino food bloggers that celebrates Filipino cuisine every month. This month’s theme was the “Colors of the Philippine Flag,” which doesn’t sound hard until you consider that there isn’t a lot of blue food from which to choose. The rules did allow for garnishes or dishes to be used to represent the color blue, but I wanted it to be a main component of the dish.

My original idea was to do tocino chilaquiles, but I thought that was a little too easy since I would’ve simply bought a bag of blue tortilla chips. The hash idea evolved naturally from there, and blue potatoes was a natural choice. I wanted to tocino to represent the color red, and I used Jun Belen’s tocino recipe. I’ve been experimenting with tocino recipes for awhile, but I wanted to try Jun’s recipe because I like its simplicity and his use of red beet powder as a coloring agent. I added red bell pepper at the end for a more “pure” red color, since the tocino’s redness would diminish a bit when cooking. To round out the colors, I used a sunny egg for the yellow and white, which also fairly accurately represents the sun on Philippine flag.

For the technique, I pretty much followed the steps for the corned beef hash at Simply Recipes. It’s really straightforward and easily adaptable. Thanks, Elise!

I think I should’ve maybe used some yukon gold or other light-colored potato to maybe help the blue potatoes stand out more, but in the end, it was delicious and that’s all that really matters. :)

Tocino and Blue Potato Hash

(adapted from Simply Recipes.)

1 lb. cooked tocino, finely chopped
1½ cups cooked blue potatoes, diced
½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat butter in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) on medium heat. Add the onion and cook a few minutes, until translucent.
  2. Mix in the chopped tocino and potatoes. Spread out evenly over the pan. Increase the heat to high or medium high and press down on the mixture with a metal spatula.
  3. Do not stir the potatoes and tocino, but let them brown. If you hear them sizzling, this is good. Use a metal spatula to peak underneath and see if they are browning. If nicely browned, use the spatula to flip sections over in the pan so that they brown on the other side. Press down again with the spatula. If there is too much sticking, you can add a little more butter to the pan. Continue to cook in this manner until the potatoes and the tocino are nicely browned.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in chopped red bell pepper. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Top with fried or poached eggs for breakfast.
dessert musings recipes

A Pie for Mikey…and Moses

I’m one of those people that’s on my iPhone all the time checking Facebook, playing Words With Friends, scanning through tweets, etc. Most of the time it’s the rhythm of my online addiction that causes me to pull out my phone and start rapidly swiping and pushing on my touchscreen, sometimes not knowing where I actually want to go or what I’m trying to find. On Twitter, I’m following so many people that staying current with my Twitter feed is a real challenge. But last Sunday, amidst the river of tweets I watched speed past my eyes, this tweet interrupted my flow…

I assumed the worst when I first read it, but my gut reaction wasn’t confirmed until Wednesday when I saw that Gluten Free Girl retweeted Jennifer’s tribute to her husband Mikey.

I don’t know Jennifer very well at all. We first met at BlogHer Food 2009 when we sat at the same table for lunch. It wasn’t my first food blogger conference, but I remember being really intimidated about being at my first BlogHer event because I am, after all, a man. :) Both Jennifer and Gina von Esmarch immediately made me feel at ease, and we suffered (and laughed) through the trainwreck of Rocco DiSpirito’s keynote lunch presentation (where conference sponsor Bertolli thought serving a room full of food bloggers their line Frozen Classic Meals at the St. Regis Hotel was a good idea). After that, just like with many other bloggers I’ve met, we’d exchange random thoughts via Twitter every once in a while. A year later, I ran into Jennifer in an elevator at BlogHer Food 2010. I stuck out my hand to greet her and reintroduce myself and she said she remembered me, as well, which I really appreciated.

Of course, you don’t have to be directly connected to Jennifer to understand the devastation and grief she and her two young daughters are experiencing following Mikey’s death — you merely have to have a heart.

Last month, my cousin Moses died suddenly. Like Mikey, he was only 51, which is far too young, especially with three beautiful daughters, grandkids and an extended circle of family and friends that are still reeling from his loss. I met Moses for the first time in March—he was a lot closer to my parents—and found him to be as funny and magnetic as my mom always said he was. I wish I met him sooner because he was a fun guy to be around.

Moses with his daughters Faith, Hope, and Joy.

Jennifer said Mikey loved her Creamy Peanut Butter Pie, and she posted the recipe in her tribute post with one request:

For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.

So here’s my pie for Mikey. I’d like to think that Moses would’ve liked this too.

I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter, but I swapped out the 8 ounces of chocolate cookies with 4 ounces of Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams and 4 ounces of Newman-O’s sandwich cookies (sans creamy centers, of course.) When I got home from the store with all the ingredients, I realized that I forgot to buy peanuts, so I harvested some from two individual-sized packs of Costco trail mix that we have in the house. :P

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
adapted from Jennifer Perillo of In Jennie’s Kitchen

Serves 10 to 12

4 ounces Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams

4 ounces Newman O’s sandwich cookie pieces (repurpose creamy centers at your peril)

4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

recipes sous vide

Thanksgiving Turkey with Kikkoman & the Sous Vide Supreme

Kikkoman Sous Vide TurkeyKikkoman-brined Sous Vide Turkey

I don’t think I’ve ever written a post on this blog that directly promoted specific products, but my attendance at BlogHer Food ’10 a couple months ago in San Francisco netted me a couple opportunities from Kikkoman and Sous Vide Supreme that I couldn’t really pass up. Writing about Kikkoman products wasn’t a problem for me because I was raised on Kikkoman soy sauce, and it’s also the only shoyu my wife allows in the house.

Longtime readers of this blog know that I’ve been sous vide cooking for a few years now and that I’ve had issues with the immersion circulators I’ve owned. I’ve been in the market for a replacement since my latest stopped circulating and the Sous Vide Supreme is an option I’ve been considering. I recently received a demo unit of their new Sous Vide Supreme Demi and decided to sous vide some turkey that was brined using Kikkoman’s soy-sauce-based recipe.

Instead of buying a whole bird, mainly because I didn’t want to break it down into parts, I bought separate turkey pieces: two each of legs, thighs and breasts. I deboned the thighs and breasts and removed the skins so I could make turkey chicharrones. That’s right…turkey chicharrones.

Turkey ChicharronesTurkey Chicharrones

If you’re curious, I basically followed the same method I used in my fried pork rinds post to make the turkey chicharrones. They’re not as crispy and delicate as pork chicharrones, but they’re still tasty.

After brining the turkey overnight, I turned on the Demi and set the temperature to 65C. As the Demi was heating up, I rinsed the turkey pieces and then bagged and sealed them using the Sous Vide Supreme vacuum sealer. Since dark meat takes significantly longer to cook than white meat, I put the legs and thighs in the Demi at around 9am and went to work. At around 5pm, I called my wife and asked her to take out the legs and put them in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and quickly bring them to a safe temperature. The legs were replaced in the Demi by the breast meat. Dinner was at 8:30, so this was plenty of time to cook the breast meat.

When I got home around 6pm, I took the legs out of the ice bath, cut open the bag and set aside any juices in the bag for gravy. I put the turkey legs on a rack with an electric fan pointed at it to dry out the meat. My plan was to fry the turkey legs in oil to crisp up the skin, so the legs had to be as dry as possible. The legs sat on the rack for a couple hours alongside the turkey skin that I had been drying out since the morning. (Chicharrones fry up nicely when the skins are completely dry but since I didn’t have a food dehydrator handy, I used the electric fan method.)

When I was ready to get dinner plated, I filled a cast iron skillet with enough oil to fry the turkey legs (about halfway up the side) and heated it to 350F. While the oil was heating up, I removed the thighs from the Demi and finished them by searing them a separate pan with a little bit of oil for a couple minutes on each side until the turkey was nicely browned. When the frying oil for the turkey legs reached 350F, I fried the legs for about five minutes—turning them as necessary so they didn’t burn—until the skin was brown and crispy. The legs and thighs were more than enough to feed the five of us, so I didn’t bother finishing the breast meat and saved it for later. While the turkey legs were frying, I assembled the gravy heating up the bag juices in a small pot then mixing in a little butter and flour until it thickened.

Turkey Breast with GravyWe saved the breast and ate it two days later after reheating it
in the Sous Vide Supreme Demi.

The finished turkey was juicy and the flavors were well balanced. The soy sauce didn’t overwhelm the turkey but merely enhanced all the other flavors around it, and it helped give the turkey a nice brown color. I think the goal of Kikkoman’s marketing campaigns the last couple years is to show that soy sauce can break out of its Asian sweet spot and be used to enhance the flavors of any genre of food, and this turkey brine is proof of that.

So if you haven’t figured out how you want to cook your turkey or you want to try something new this year, Kikkoman’s soy sauce turkey brine is easy, and you can cook the turkey any way you want—fry, roast, sous vide—the choice is yours. Here’s the brine recipe to get you started. :)

Kikkoman Turkey Brine

2 gallons cold water
10 ounces Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons dried celery seed
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Tocino Sliders with Atsarang Mangga

Tocino Sliders

After making a large quantity of tocino in my previous post, I could’ve easily portioned out what I had on hand and kept the surplus in the freezer, but a friend was having a barbecue and sharing it was a much better plan. I started thinking of other ways to serve tocino since I wasn’t going to make my friends breakfast, and sliders were the first thing that came to mind.

When I Googled “tocino sliders,” I discovered that they were on the menu at Purple Yam, Chef Romy Dotoran and Amy Besa’s new restaurant in Brooklyn. Besa has said that Purple Yam’s tocino sliders, served with pickled persimmons on mini housemade purple yam pandesals, were inspired by Vietnamese bánh mì, which is simply grilled meat, pickled veggies, and fresh bread. This idea is fairly common—Momofuku Pork Belly Buns and Korean BBQ Tacos, and brats with sauerkraut also come to mind. My friend Steph (a.k.a. urbanfoodie), recently visited Purple Yam and said she liked their tocino sliders.

Purple Yam’s Tocino Sliders (Photo by The Village Voice)

Although the tocino slider is a fusion concept, I wanted to keep the components as Filipino as possible. I love that Purple Yam uses mini pandesal for the bun, so I picked some up at the market instead of using the more obvious King’s Hawaiian Rolls. For the pickled vegetables, it was only natural that I make atsara (a.k.a. achara or pickled green papaya) to dress the sliders. The funny thing is, I had never eaten atsara in my life. In fact, I always hated pickles when I was a kid, but as an adult, I’ve grown to love other pickled vegetables. (Sauerkraut ended up being my gateway pickled vegetable.)

I knew I could’ve bought some atsara at the store, but I wanted to make it from scratch (recipe below). Luckily, Marvin at Burnt Lumpia has a great atsara recipe, and I would’ve followed it to a T if I didn’t buy the wrong papaya at the market. Atsara calls specifically for green papaya, and in my haste, I bought a couple ripe Hawaiian papayas that were ill suited for atsara. I didn’t realize this till around midnight, and the Asian supermarkets aren’t open that late, so I picked up some unripe green mangoes to substitute. I’m not sure if mango atsara is an actual “thing” in the Philippines, but it ended up being a great substitute. I’ll definitely use green papaya next time I make atsara.

Atsara Mangga (pickled mangoes)
Mango was a nice twist to this atsara.

Since I had access to my friend’s grill, I grilled the tocino instead of pan frying it, and I think grilling is definitely the way to go. It will still be good pan fried, but if you can, grill them. I gave them a good sear for a couple minutes on each side and then finished them off on a cooler part of the grill.

Grilled Tocino
Grilled tocino is a good thing.

Assembling the sliders is easy. Cut the pandesal in half so they look like buns and then toast them to your preference. Put a slice or two of tocino on the bottom half of the bread and then top with the atsara.

Atsarang Mangga (pickled mangoes)

(adapted from Burnt Lumpia.)

2 cups cane vinegar
½ cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and julienned
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2-3 unripe mangoes (about 1½–2 lbs.), peeled, seeded, and julienned
2 small carrots, peeled and julienned
1 small onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)


  1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, ginger, and garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring to ensure sugar and salt have dissolved. Remove from heat and allow mixture to come to room temperature.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then drop the julienned mangoes into the pot for 1 minute. Remove mangoes from the boiling water and place them into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain the mangoes and place in cheesecloth or paper towels, squeeze to remove any excess water.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mangoes, carrots, and onion. Pour the room temperature vinegar mixture over the vegetables and season with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight.
Filipino pork recipes sandwiches

Homemade Pork Tocino

A few weeks ago, I got this urge to make my tocino, the sweet cured pork that’s a staple Philippine breakfast meat. It’s probably most commonly served as tosilog, which is portmanteau of tocino, sinangag (garlic fried rice), and itlog (eggs). (I discuss “silogs” in my Best Breakfast Ever post from a few years ago.)

Tosilog - Cherry Garden
Tosilog — the breakfast of champions (from Cherry Garden in Fremont, CA)

My first attempt at tocino used the simple salt/sugar/achuete cure from the book Memories of Philippine Kitchens by Chef Romy Dotoran and Amy Besa of New York’s famous-but-now-closed Cendrillon. but that recipe didn’t work for me at all. The tocino ended up being way too salty, and it was almost inedible. (There’s a good chance that the recipe’s failure was my fault, so I’ll have to revisit it one of these days.)

While discussing my tocino plans with a couple other food bloggers on Twitter, Mark Manguerra of No Special Effects said that he’d always want to try Simply Anne’s tocino recipe, so I decided to give it a shot. In short, the recipe is good and with a few adjustments, the tocino was exactly what I wanted.

Pork Tocino

(adapted from Simply Anne’s.)

3 lb. boneless pork shoulder roast
1¼ cups pineapple juice
½ cup ketchup
½ cup lemon-lime soda
1/3 cup light soy sauce
2 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Freeze pork shoulder roast for an hour or so to firm it up so that it’s easier to slice. Cut 1/4-inch slices of pork shoulder and place in a one gallon zipper-lock plastic bag.
  2. Mix the rest of the ingredients in bowl and then add to the meat. Seal the bag, doing your best to remove excess air. Let the pork cure in the refrigerator for a 4-5 days, flipping over the bag every day or so.
  3. After curing, you can either cook the meat or portion them off into smaller bags and freeze them.
  4. To cook the tocino, add a little water, marinade and a few slices of meat to a skillet. Over medium heat, let the liquid boil off and then fry the meat for a couple more minutes to caramelize it. There’s a lot of sugar in the marinade so make sure you don’t burn the meat.You can also grill the tocino, which is my ideal method, by searing both sides on a grill over high heat and then letting them finish cooking over low or indirect heat. You can replicate this method indoors using a grill pan to sear and a low oven (around 250F) to finish.
Grilled Tocino
Pan frying tocino is traditional, but I prefer it grilled.

There’s a lot of tocino in that picture, isn’t there? I’ll show you what I did with it in my next post… :)

Ad Hoc beef recipes Thomas Keller

Cook the Book: Ad Hoc at Home – Blowtorch Prime Rib

When I first saw the Blowtorch Prime Rib recipe in the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook, I knew I was going to make it for Christmas dinner. But this technique is so easy, there is no reason to save it for special occasions.

Blowtorching Prime RibBlowtorching meat is fun!

Of course, the first step is actually buying a blowtorch, and there are several options available. My first choice was the Iwatani Professional Torch Burner because it’s compact and just plain looks cool. The butane cartridges are proprietary, but with all the Asian markets near me, they’re not hard to find. Being the chronic procrastinator that I am, I had to settle for what was available down the street at Lowes. The BernzOmatic TS3000 was cheap (~$26), came with a big can of propane called the “Fat Boy,” and I love the name BernzOmatic. :)

The BernzOmatic TS3000
The lovely blue flame produced by the BernzOmatic TS3000.

Roasting the prime rib can be broken down to three steps. I used a 2-bone, 4½-pound standing rib roast that easily fed 6 adults, but you could use this technique with any size roast.

  1. Place the rib roast on a rack in a roasting pan and sear the meat with the blowtorch until it starts turning gray and the fat starts rendering.
  2. Season the rib roast with generous amounts of kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
  3. Roast in 275F oven until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 128F. For our 4½-pound roast, this took about two hours. I use a digital probe thermometer so that I can monitor the temperature of the meat without opening the oven.
Out of the Oven, Bones Removed
The blowtorch jumpstarts the development of the crust
that’s characteristic of good prime rib.

Roasting the meat at a low temperature ensures a beautiful shade of pink all the way through the meat. Rest the meat for at least 30 minutes before cutting into it.

Perfect Medium Rare
Perfect medium rare after resting for 40 minutes.

Since everything at Ad Hoc is served family style, the prime rib is cut into thick chunks instead of more traditional individual slices. I think this allows a smaller rib roast to serve more people and cuts down on wasted meat, especially if there are light eaters at the table who can’t finish a whole slice of regular prime rib.

To serve the meat, cut the roast in half down the center and put the meat cut side down on the cutting board. Then cut each half into ½-inch slices. I think serving the meat this way is great because each piece is thick and has a lot of crust. Before bringing the meat to the table drizzle it with a little fleur de sel or kosher salt and some coarsely ground pepper.

Blowtorched Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream Blowtorched prime rib with horseradish cream

The low cooking temperature means that there’s hardly any drippings in the bottom of the pan to make jus, but you don’t need it. The meat’s beefiness comes through loud and clear, and it goes beautifully with this horseradish cream.

Horseradish Cream (adapted from Ad Hoc at Home)
½ cup very cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
¼ cup drained, prepared horseradish
½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Put the heavy cream and vinegar in a bowl in a medium bowl and whisk until the cream and holds a soft shape (just before soft peaks). Whisk in horseradish, salt, and pepper until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

David Chang Momofuku pork recipes

Chicharrones (Fried Pork Rinds)


In my world, there is no finer snack than some chicharrones, a.k.a. fried pork rinds. It’s something I’ve been eating since I was a kid, and Filipinos love it with sukang sili (chili vinegar) and beer.

Over the past year, chicharrones have been embraced by the “mainstream” through the efforts of chefs like Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, whose chicharrones, despite my initial apprehensions, are other worldly. They’re incredibly light and when they’re fresh, they snap, crackle, and pop in your mouth like porky Rice Krispies.

4505 Chicharrones

Because they’re so cheap and readily available near me, I’d never considered making chicharrones at home until a couple weeks ago. I had some pork skin left over after removing it to making the Momofuku Pork Belly, and it would be a shame to waste such a nice piece of pork skin. There’s also a recipe in the Momofuku cookbook since they serve a piece of chicharron to every guest as an amuse bouche at Momofuku Ko.

The process is pretty simple. First, put the pig skin in a pot of water and boil it for about an hour a half, then chill it in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Boiled and Dried Pig Skin
Pig skin after chillin’ out overnight.

Use a spoon to scrape off any excess fat left on the skin and put it in a food dehydrator for 12 hours. It should look like a brown piece of plastic.

Dehydrated Pig Skin
Break this into small pieces and fry them up.

Next, break the dehydrated pig skin into 1×2-inch pieces. This doesn’t have to be exact, as the small pieces make nice chicharrones, too. Heat some oil (preferably one with a high smoke point) to between 390-400F in a deep pot. Drop a piece of pig skin into the oil and agitate it a bit until it puffs up. This should take about 10 seconds. Fry each piece one at a time, so they don’t stick together. Here’s a short iPhone video I shot to give you an idea of how long it takes.

After frying, season the hot chicharrones with a mixture of equal parts togarashi (Japanese 7-spice powder), sugar, and kosher salt. Serve them hot or at room temperature. You should eat them within a few days when they’re still crunchy, but I doubt these will last more than a few minutes. :)

cookbooks David Chang Momofuku recipes

Cook the Book: Momofuku – Roasted Rice Cakes

Momofuku Week ends with this recipe for Roasted Rice Cakes, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be posting more recipes from the book very soon.

Roasted Rice CakesRoasted Rice Cakes

I had little interest in Korean food until a few years ago. My experience had been limited to the plethora of grilled meats that most people associate with Korean cuisine, and other standards like bibimbap, soondubu, and even banchan were never on my radar. It wasn’t until I ordered the roasted rice cakes at Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2007 that I started get more interested in non-barbecued Korean dishes.

I remember ordering the roasted rice cakes as an appetizer without having any idea what it was. When they arrived at the table, I marveled at the bright red sauce that coated the crunchy-yet-chewy rice cakes. My friend Soo Jin told me that this dish was called dok boki (dok means rice cake), and it soon became a regular order when I was at Korean restaurants.

Roasted Rice Cakes Roasted Rice Cakes at Noodle Bar circa 2007

Momofuku’s roasted rice cakes deviate from traditional dok boki by pan roasting the rice cakes instead of boiling them so that they’re crispy on the outside but still chewy on the inside. According to David Chang, pan roasting is something he only saw in Japan, and to me, the texture contrasts make the dish a lot more delectable.

In the book, Chang says:

“I equate the difference between boiled dok and grilled, griddled or fried rice cakes to the difference between boiled and grilled hot dogs. Each has its place, but that char, that extra bit of flavor and texture you get from the direct heat does a lot for the dok, just as it does for hot dogs.”

Like hot dog carts in New York, dok boki vendors are ubiquitous in Seoul, and this recipe is Chang’s interpretation of classic Korean street food. It features pan-roasted rice cakes tossed in Korean Red Dragon Sauce (recipe below) and garnished with green onions and sesame seeds. The Red Dragon sauce includes roasted onions, which I overcooked slightly but still added a nice smoky flavor. I was able to pick up fresh rice cakes and other ingredients from a great little Korean market near my house.

Roasted Rice Cakes
Note: The recipe calls for ramen broth, but I didn’t have any on hand so I substituted it with bacon dashi. They’re two totally different things, but the end result was still really good.

¼ cup mirin
¼ cup bacon dashi
½ cup Korean Red Dragon Sauce
¼ cup of roasted onions
2 tablespoons canola oil
12 rice cakes (about 3-inch-long pieces.)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (for garnish)
½ cup sliced green onions (greens and whites, for garnish)

Combine mirin and bacon dashi in a saucepan big enough to hold the rice cakes later. Boil to reduce until lightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the Korean Red Dragon Sauce, turn the heat down to medium and reduce the sauce to a glossy consistency, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the roasted onions. Cover and keep warm until rice cakes are ready.

While the sauce is reducing, heat a very clean cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the oil to the pan and when it just starts to smoke, add the rice cakes. Sear the rice cakes for about 3 minutes per side until they’re light golden brown.

Bring the sauce back up to a a boil and toss the rice cakes in for a few seconds until they’re evenly coated. Add sesame seeds and toss again. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with green onions.

Korean Red Dragon Sauce
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
¾ cup ssamjang (fermented bean and chile paste)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
(or mix ½ teaspoon rice vinegar and ½ teaspoon sherry wine)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes, then stir in the ssamjang to dissolve it. Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Taste the sauce; no one flavor should stand out, but all should be present and accounted for. Adjust as necessary.