For National Spaghetti Day we are sharing a modernist recipe that looks like spaghetti but doesn't actually contain any pasta! This smoked corn noodles dish has noodles made of smoked corn cob infused broth with a sauce of thickened Vietnamese-style nuoc cham, all topped with fried shallots, mint and hibiscus crystals. The noodles are made with a mixture of hydrocolloids, which provide a chewy, noodle-like texture (courtesy of Rich Rosendale).  And remember, the same three steps are almost always used with hydrocolloids: disperse, fully hydrate with heat, and cool.  The dish is smoky, savory, sweet and tart, in addition to being gluten free and pescatarian safe.   

Smoked Corn Noodles with Nuoc Cham

Nuoc cham:

  • Sugar - 60 g
  • Xanthan gum - 0.8 g
  • Fish sauce - 60 g
  • Rice vinegar - 30 g
  • Lime juice  - 30 g
  • Garlic, minced - 10 g
  • Bird’s-eye chili, minced - 1

Noodles:

  • Broth - 900 g of chicken or pork broth
  • Smoked corn cobs - 6 ears of corn smoked for 30 min to 1 hour (until corn kernels are cooked) at 135C (275F) 
  • Salt - to taste
  • Locust bean gum - 3 g  
  • Kappa carrageenan - 1 g
  • Iota carrageenan - 5 g
  • Calcium lactate - 0.5 g 
  • Mint leaves - 12 small leaves
  • Cilantro leaves - 12 small leaves
  • Fried shallots - 30 g
  • Hibiscus Flower Crystals from Fresh Origins - 10 g

Method:

  1. Mix sugar and xanthan gum together
  2. Mix all ingredients for nuoc chom together and sprinkle in sugar/xanthan gum mixture while whisking
  3. Whisk to dissolve sugar and xanthan gum for at least one minute to fully dissolve and then set aside
  4. After corn is removed from smoked corn ears (and kept to use for another purpose), steep corn cobs in broth for one hour at a low simmer
  5. Season the broth to taste, but be careful not to over salt because the nuoc cham will be salty
  6. Strain the broth
  7. In a blender, disperse (blend in slowly) the locust bean gum, kappa carrageenan, iota carrageenan and calcium lactate 
  8. While stirring constantly, heat mixture to 70C (158F)
  9. Pour mixture into a flat tray to set.  It should be no more than 1/4 inch deep.
  10. Let cool to solidify
  11. Cut smoked corn broth into 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick noodles
  12. Portion noodles and dress with nuoc cham to taste
  13. Top noodles with fried shallots, cilantro, mint, and Flower Crystals

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