Ramen Gnocchi with Cheez Whiz and Shrooms: Because We Tried to Be David Chang (but failed)

By Mikka Wee/June 19, 2013

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If there’s one chef that we look up to (aside from Anthony Bourdain), it’s David Chang. The founder of the Momofuku Restaurant Group is anything but predictable. Eccentric recipes, fresh culinary ideas, and risque humor add to Chang’s peculiar charm.He’s a creative Chef who really knows what he’s doing, is not easily swayed by popular culinary trends, and stands firmly by his opinions.

Late last year, Chang joined forces with Bourdain to film the show The Mind of a Chef (TMOAC). It’s a pretty awesome series that showcases Chang in the kitchen, Chang goofing around with other chefs, Chang playing with ingredients that usually make it to the trash, and so much more.

portrait_david_chang

Mye and I got hooked on the show. We watched it religiously and were awed by each episode. We’d often ask ourselves “WWDCD? (What Would David Chang Do?)” whenever we’d brainstorm for recipes. I’d like to think that it’s a strategy that’s proven effective so far. For those wondering how we come up with our recipe ideas, well, now you know part of the story.

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The pilot episode of TMOAC features Chang creating various dishes out of instant ramen noodles. He made Ramen Cacio e Pepe, a Ramen Dip using the flavor packets (which we also did here), and Ramen Gnocchi. Inspired by his ingenuity, we embarked on an experiment to recreate his Ramen Gnocchi. There were a few differences, though. Instead of copying his Gremolata Butter sauce to finish, we used Cheez Whiz and Korean Mushrooms.

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Making the gnocchi was tough. Apparently, Chang wasn’t kidding when he said, “I picked this [his blender] up from Jamba Juice.” Said blender would probably cost around PHP 40K at least. Mye and I used a department store brand blender worth a fifth of that. So, yeah.

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I can’t stress enough the importance of having a well-blended gnocchi batter. Since our blender couldn’t cream the cooked ramen noodles as well as Chang’s blender could, we ended up with lumpy ramen gnocchi goo that we had to soften with so much milk. To make the long story short, it wasn’t the best batch of ramen gnocchi, bearing very little resemblance to Chang’s flawless version.

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Despite our failed attempt at being David Changs, we were still able to create a passable plate of Ramen Gnocchi. It was pretty good, in a buttery, cheesy, mushroomy kind of way. Everyone knows that cheese and butter, when slapped together, are always delicious. And come on, who doesn’t love Cheez Whiz?

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If you want the original recipe to David Chang’s Ramen Gnocchi recipe, click here. But if you want the Pepper.ph version, scroll down. We secretly hope that you do the latter.

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Image of David Chang from Graeme Mitchell

Ramen Gnocchi with Cheez Whiz and Shrooms

Total Time: 90 minutes / Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients for the Ramen Gnocchi (inspired from David Chang via Butter Tree)

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 packages instant ramen, seasoning packets reserved for another use
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsps. butter (we used salted butter)

Other Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil (for cooking the mushrooms)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 carton Korean Mushrooms
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup Cheez Whiz

Procedure for the Ramen Gnocchi

  1. Boil the milk in a small saucepan, and then remove from heat immediately.
  2. Break up the ramen noodles and add them to the milk. Let them soften in the milk for about 1 minute. They should still still be firm.
  3. Strain the noodles, but keep the milk.
  4. Add the noodles + 1 cup of the milk in a blender and purée for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the egg yolks until the mixture is smooth. If it turns out still dry (like ours), keep adding more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, to loosen it
  6. Once well-incorporated, transfer the batter inside a pastry bag fitted with a half-inch wide tip then place inside the fridge.
  7. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once it has reached this point, bring out the pastry bag from the fridge.
  8. Pipe the dough out directly into the boiling water. Use a butter knife or a spatula and cut out one-inch logs as the mixture comes out of the pastry bag. The cooked gnocchi will rise to the surface of the pot after a minute or so.
  9. Scoop the gnocchi with a slotted spoon and transfer them into a greased or buttered plate. Cool the gnocchi, cover them in plastic wrap, and store them in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes. They can last overnight refrigerated.
  10. To cook the gnocchi, heat 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat in a wide sauté pan.
  11. Wait for the butter foam to subside and add the gnocchi in batches, stirring every once in a while until they are golden brown on the surface. This takes about 3-4 minutes. Continue adding butter for the remaining batches until all of the gnocchi are golden brown.
  12. Set aside.

Assembly

  1. In a separate pan, heat the olive oil and butter, then sauté the Korean Mushrooms (don’t forget to rinse before cooking!).
  2. Add a dash of salt to the mushrooms. Set aside.
  3. Place the gnocchi on a serving plate, top with Chiz Whiz, and then top with Korean Mushrooms.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Don’t forget the importance of a really powerful blender!

Mikka Wee

Managing Editor

Mikka Wee is a happy little hobbit who loves to eat, but is allergic to exercise. Armed with a heart for travel, she likes to go on random adventures and book spontaneous flights. If she's not hunting for the next seat sale, Mikka likes to read, write in her blog, cuddle with her dog Rocket, and make sandcastles on the beach. See More.

  • Addi dela Cruz

    Mind of a Chef, Episode 1! Hihi

    • Mikka Wee

      Hehehe you know it! ;)

  • Geh

    I’ve never tried making nyohkee before but I’ll probably give it a go this weekend just because this post made me crave for some. :P

  • TM

    ive tried that already (but using our noodles). first time it didnt taste good. but when i put potato (which real gnocchi are supposedly made of), it tasted better and lighter. Sauce: palin butter and bacon. Yum

    • TM

      plain butter i mean

  • Stephen Chan

    What happens if you cook the noodles before blending them?

    • Mylene Chung

      It helps actually. I would advise heating the noodles with the milk first to soften before putting it in the blender. That way you can get a smoother gnocchi batter.:D