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Bi bim bap, anyone? I used to think that was safe for celiacs, and I especially relished the thick, red sauce, gochujang, that came with it. I even found it at an Asian market and got through an entire jar before bothering to read the ingredient list. No surprise, the wheat-beast was featured prominently on the list. Dangit. So the search was on for a recipe. Unfortunately, I came face-to-face with the following line from Wikipedia:

It has been made at home in Korea since the 16th century, after chili peppers were first introduced. The making of gochujang at home began tapering off when commercial production started in the early 1970s and came into the mass market. Now, homemade gochujang can hardly be found.

Hardly be found?!?! Was this written in the age of The Internets?! Impossiblum. I set to searchin’.

Mercifully, I found two recipes relatively quickly. I tried this one first, from the Shizouka Gourmet. Since the measurements are all in grams and mL (awkward!) I’ve included the conversions below. Then just follow Shizouka’s directions. Deeeeeeeelish!

Gochujang: Korean Spicy Bean Paste

  • 1 1/8 c. water
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. + 1 T Korean chili powder (I suppose you could substitute any ol’ chili powder, but real chiliheads would cry foul)
  • 1 c. miso paste (be sure to read the ingredient list because some misos are fermented with barley)
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 t. sake
  • 1 t. rice vinegar

Gluten-Free Ramen Noodles, Inspired by David Chang's Momofuku

My Momofuku cookbook came today and it is lighting a little fire under my overworked tush to get back in the kitchen and start creating once again. Of course, you’d be right to point out that the only ingredient he uses more than gluten is meat. What could a gfveghead possibly get out of a cookbook full of porky noodles? Well, saysme, a lot. Pickled melon, for example. Cabbage kimchi or cucumber kimchi. Ginger scallion sauce. Or slow-poached eggs.

Slow-poached eggs, you say? So what? Sooooo, Chang says if you cook eggs in the shell at a low enough heat for a long enough time, you produce a perfectly poached egg neatly contained in its own shell. No stringy white floaters in your egg-poaching water and no accidentally broken egg yolks. Imagine the surprise when you crack an egg over your ramen and instead of a raw, gooey mess a perfectly poached egg slithers out!? I am intrigued. Let’s give it a whirl!

Gluten-Free Ramen Noodles

  • 8 cups water
  • 1/3 cup tamari
  • 1/4 cup cabbage kimchi, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 scallions
  • handful of stringbeans
  • 4 oz. shitake mushrooms, whole caps with the stems discarded*
  • 3 nests of mung bean thread noodles
  • 2 slow-poached eggs
  • hot chili oil
  • soft tofu
  • Egg-Poaching for Turtles: I categorized this as a quickie and one-dish wonder, but admittedly, the poached eggs complicate things. So feel free to leave them out, or do them the normal way (in a shallow fry pan with an inch of simmering water and a teaspoon of white vinegar). To make the poached eggs the slow way, you’ll need a steamer and a thermometer. Put 2 eggs in the steamer and cover with water. Put on medium heat until the water is between 140 and 145 degrees. The more water you have, the easier it will be to obtain and maintain this temperature over the course of the 40 minutes it takes to poach the eggs. Turn your attention to the soup at about the 25-30 minute mark.

    The quickie part: Put 8 cups of water into a medium pot and bring to a boil. While you’re waiting, chop your kimchi, garlic, scallions. Add the tamari to the water as well as the garlic, mushroom caps, and scallions. Put the mung bean noodles in the broth and turn the heat down to low. Check the noodles every couple of minutes for “doneness.” When they’re close, add the green beans and kimchi.

    The plating: Cut your silken tofu and place a few large cubes in each of your serving bowls. Ladle the soup and noodles over the tofu. Crack one poached egg on top of each bowl of noodles. Top with chili oil and serve.

    * I keep my mushroom stems in a ziploc bag in the freezer; when I’ve collected a full bag, I use them to make mushroom stock. Drooooool…

    Ok, so we can’t eat Ramen anymore. But my local NPR station just interviewed David Chang, head chef at New York’s Momofuku Noodle Bar, and posted the most intriguing recipe for ginger scallion sauce. It looks absolutely divine. Amazon.com has reprinted it here. Substitute wheat-free tamari for the light soy sauce and you’re good to go. I can’t wait to try this over rice noodles, or 100% buckwheat soba! Hot dang!