Feb 2012

Momofuku’s Spicy Brussels Sprouts with Mint

Momofuku Brussels Sprouts | Spicy Brussels Sprouts with a Vietnamese Twist

When The Astronomer challenged me to a Brussels sprouts throwdown this past weekend, I knew that these spicy sprouts with a Vietnamese kick from Chef David Chang would bring home a victory. Compared to my competitor’s lemon, honey, and thyme dressed specimens, these were bolder and brighter—an all around more daring addition to the dinner table.

While both of our recipes called for gently roasted sprouts, they headed in markedly different directions from there. These Momofuku-masterminded ones are coated in a fish sauce-based vinaigrette with plenty of garlic, lime juice, chilies, and minced herbs. The dressing reaches every caramelized crevice, wrapping its sweet, sour, spicy, and salty way around each green head.

The dish is more or less good to go once the sprouts meet the dressing, but because this is a David Chang recipe, there is a fun and whimsical addition in the form of a toasted rice cereal topping. Imbued with cayenne pepper, these crispy grains were airy and positively spicy.

After all was roasted, marinated, and tasted, I’m proud to say that my Brussels sprouts came out on top. Although The Astronomer tried to argue that the chief ingredient was lost somehow in the pungency of the fish sauce, he eventually succumbed to their irresistible flavors and waved a white flag. Lemon, honey, and thyme are perfectly palatable, but going up against the triple threat of chilies, fish sauce, and “Spice Krispies,” they didn’t stand a chance.

For Brussels sprouts

  • 4 cups Brussels sprouts (about 2 pounds), trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For topping

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup Rice Krispies or other puffed rice cereal
  • 1/4 teaspoon togarashi or cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt

For vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small red chile, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint

Prepare Brussels sprouts

Momofuku Brussels Sprouts | Spicy Brussels Sprouts with a Vietnamese Twist

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix the Brussels sprouts in a bowl with the olive oil and salt. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly.

Prepare topping

Momofuku Brussels Sprouts | Spicy Brussels Sprouts with a Vietnamese Twist

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the Rice Krispies and togarashi or cayenne pepper and cook over high heat, stirring, until browned, about 30 seconds. Season with salt. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare vinaigrette

Momofuku Brussels Sprouts | Spicy Brussels Sprouts with a Vietnamese Twist

In a small bowl, combine the fish sauce, water, sugar, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic and chile and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the cilantro and mint.

Assemble Brussels sprouts

Momofuku Brussels Sprouts | Spicy Brussels Sprouts with a Vietnamese Twist

Transfer the roasted Brussels Sprouts into a large bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Just before serving, sprinkle the “Spice Krispies” on top and serve right away.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine, November 2009. [For Printable Recipe Click Here]

More recipes for sensational sides on Gastronomy:

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13 thoughts on “Momofuku’s Spicy Brussels Sprouts with Mint

  1. That’s crazy – I *just* made this recipe last week and have a bunch of brussels sprouts in the fridge planning to make it again. Great minds think alike…I’m thinking of making it for a vegetarian so I’m going to have to replace the fish sauce with soy. I’m not sure if that’s going to work but I guess we’ll see.

  2. These sprouts have been on my to-make list for months, I just haven’t gotten around to them. But now I think I’ll have to make the time, yours look absolutely fantastic!

  3. love the spice krispies! I’m just drooling… I picked up some sprouts the other day, this looks very intriguing and I would welcome an opportunity to have a box of rice krispies in the house, maybe a half recipe of those sticky marshmallow treats…

  4. @Hungry Lemur: I use a 4:1 mix of light soy and Thai Golden Mountain sauce as a substitute for fish sauce when cooking for my vegetarian wife. Pumps up the umami volume!

  5. MRatito – I think that’s a terrific substitution. Straight soy sauce would be too salty. Golden Mountain sauce would round out the umami element nicely!

  6. KATHY! long time no comment 🙂 my friend Chef Ant made these for me and man it’s a punch of viet in the mouth. very unexpected but man this has AWESOME flavors and texture. A+++++

  7. Oh, these look so yummy. Brussels Sprouts sometimes get a bad rap, but we love them at my house. Always looking for new ways to serve them up. Thank you for sharing!

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