Inspired by our Temple Food episode in Korea.
In this recipe, we are creating “tomato water” which requires blending tomatoes into a pulp and then putting them in layers of cheesecloth set over a bowl for 2-3 hours. Bird’s eye chili peppers are also used here. This tiny, red pepper is very hot but adds a distinct flavor that is typical in Korean food. Be careful when handling them and distribute them thoughtfully when serving.
Set up a strainer that is lined with cheesecloth folded into at least 4 layers. Set the strainer on top of a bowl to catch the liquid that will be strained.
Remove the core from each tomato. Roughly chop the tomatoes and put into blender blender with about 1 teaspoon of salt. Pulse the tomatoes until almost pureed, but with a few chunks remaining. Pour the blended tomato into the cheesecloth-lined strainer, and refrigerate. The tomato mixture will slowly drip clarified tomato water into the bowl. This will take about 2-3 hours to completely drip out of the puree, and can be done overnight.
Once the tomato water has dripped from the cheesecloth, pour it into a medium sized pot. The remaining puree can be saved for another recipe, or discarded. Bring the tomato water up to a boil over medium heat. Foam will start to form at the top of the tomato water, and should be skimmed off. Once all the foam is skimmed off, add the garlic, lemongrass, and birds eye chilies to the tomato water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the dried rice cellophane noodles into bite-size pieces with scissors, and place into a medium sized pot. Pour the boiling tomato consommé through a strainer over the pot with the noodles in it, removing the aromatics. Bring the consommé back to boil and fully cook the noodles.
With a slotted spoon, scoop equal amounts of the noodles into four serving bowls. Pour the consommé over the noodles in the bowls. Garnish the top with the scallions, sliced cherry tomatoes and a few drops of extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately.
8 lbs ripe tomatoes
8 scallions, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, sliced
3 bird’s eye chili peppers, stem removed and sliced thin
2 cups dried rice cellophane noodles
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 grape tomatoes, sliced
Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper