Do you ever have an item marked on your to-do list that has seemingly been there forever? You go back to it time and again, visually and mentally caressing it, happy about your grand plans for it, and yet, there it is still, with no signs of a check mark ever going to mar its awesome possibilities.
If you don’t, and all your to-do’s, or to-make’s, or to-buy’s, are diligently and methodically checked, then you are a much more organized person than me. Obviously. Because organization is not one of my strong points…by a long shot. I need to consciously, and contentiously, work at it every single minute. I’m doing it right now, even as I type! Trying to make sense of all the papers (in different shapes, sizes, and colors) that surround me.
So yes, I do have many of these “to-do’s” that sit patiently waiting for me to stop dreaming and start doing. This one in particular, this mound of Asian-flavored carbohydrates and fats that you see here, has been sitting on my Pinterest board for quite some time, tempting me with its promise of umami goodness. As I have promised myself that this year I will “do” more than dream…I have finally made the mythical Crack Slurp.
But before that, have you used Pinterest? I’ve been using it for years and it was, and continues to be, a godsend for this quite-a-bit-disorganized mama. It was love at first sight when I clapped eyes on it. Pinterest is, quite literally, a pin board without the physical pins and papers and such…a virtual pinboard where you can store ideas and inspiration without (hooray!) taking up any physical space, limited only by what we can find on the internet, which, as we know, is no limit at all. You can stash anything in there – from recipes, to ideas for your child’s room, to what inspires you about the color blue, anything. Simply “pin” the image you see online, and it is stored on your “board” which will then link back from whence it came! For me, swimming in papers in a little city flat, that is indeed a godsend.
These noodles (which I came across on Pinterest) can be found on my Crave board, where indeed the majority of the action happens (being a food blogger and an all around general glutton). I also have boards though on travel inspiration (oh yes, the places I want to visit…and an embarrassing amount of the Italian coast there), style (clothes and accessory ideas…yes, I do get out of the kitchen sometimes), home (furniture and room ideas…that I really need to be getting to!), kids’ stuff (everything for my little ones), for entertaining (obviously very aspirational this one), general inspiration (just words and images that lift my spirits), general ideas (lots of great how-to’s!), Objects of Desire (this one’s for Santa!), and the most recently added “working at home” board (since I work from home I thought it high time to fix up my space here).
This is what my Crave board looks like, just to get you started:
And let me share these noodles with you as well, because they are awesome.
(from Lady and Pups, I’ve just reformatted the recipe here and added my notes, please see hers for the original)
The Crack (for 2 servings):
- 175 grams of chicken skins, rinsed clean and dab dry (I used the skins of about a kilo of boneless chicken thigh fillets)
- 5 small or 4 medium Asian shallots, thinly sliced (I used about 8 because ours were tiny)
- 1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground white pepper
– Stack the chicken skins on top of each other over a large piece of plastic-wrap. Roll the chicken skins into a thick log as tightly as you can, then twist the two ends of the plastic-wrap together to secure. Add another layer of plastic-wrap if needed. Freeze this for at least 2 hours until it hardens (this will make it easier to slice).
– Remove the plastic-wrap from the chicken skin (once it has hardened) and cut into thin slices, which will give you even strips of chicken skins (mine were not too even…don’t stress).
– Add the skins to a non-stick deep skillet or pot (lots of hot oil will be rendering, you want some protection…I used a non-stick wok) over medium heat. Let the skins render its fat. Stir occasionally as they crisp up (they will get sticky mid-way through frying, then start to crisp up when they’re done), until they are golden-brown and crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Drain through a fine sieve. Then season it immediately with 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt and 1/4 tsp of ground white paper. Set aside.
– You should now have about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of chicken fat (I had 1/3). Add however much vegetable oil you need to make it a heaping 1/2 cup, and return it to the same pot/skillet/wok. Add the thinly sliced shallots and cook over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the shallots dehydrate and turn lightly golden-brown, about 10 minutes (they will continue to darken and crisp up after they have been removed from the oil so don’t wait too long). Drain through a fine sieve, then immediately season with 1/4 tsp of fine sea salt and 1/4 tsp of ground white pepper.
– Mix the fried shallots and chicken cracklings together, season with more fine sea salt if needed. Set aside. (Do not try to taste The Crack or I swear you will have nothing left for your noodles. Just trust me.)
– If you want to store the crack: freeze the chicken crackling + fried shallots in an air-tight container, and refrigerate the oil in an air-tight container as well.
The Slurp/noodle (for 1 serving/for each bowl):
- 2 tablespoons of the crack-oil (the reserved fat)
- 3 tablespoons of the crack (chicken crackling + fried shallots)
- The carb: 14 oz (400 grams) of fresh, thick-cut Chinese hand-rolled noodles (I used 300 grams dried noodles of unknown Chinese origin, and when cooked used only about 3/4 of it for this, for TWO servings)
- The paste: 1/2 tbsp of sichuan douban chili paste (I couldn’t find any around these parts so I used a combination of two chili pastes: Pantai Chili Paste with Soya Bean Oil and Lee Kum Kee Chili Bean Sauce, Toban Djan)
- The seasoning:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon of dark soy sauce (mainly adds color to the dish)
- 1/4 teaspoon of rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon of MSG, optional (I didn’t use any because I didn’t have any around)
- The spices:
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground red sichuan peppercorn
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground white pepper
- The aromatics/herbs:
- 1 smashed garlic clove
- 1/4 cup of finely diced scallions
To make the slurp/noodle:
– Bring a large pot of water to boil.
– Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the crack-oil, the chili paste, all the seasonings and spices, and 1 smashed garlic clove (smashed enough to release flavor, but intact so you can pick it out later) until thoroughly blended.
– Cook the noodles until done (I had to wing it because I can’t read Chinese), then drain through a slotted spoon and add to the bowl of sauce (I added the noodles little by little until I had what I felt was a good balance between noodle and sauce).
– Mix well, add a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water if it’s too dry.
– Top with 3 tablespoons of The Crack and the diced scallions. Mix again, and slurp.
If this seems like a lot of instructions don’t be intimidated! I made The Crack the day before and did the noodles and sauce the following day so it didn’t seem like a lot of work at all. And it is all extremely worth it. All I can say is that the “Crack” in “Crack Slurp” is no exaggeration. I implore you to go over to Lady and Pups for her full explanation on building your Crack Slurp. You’ll thank me, I promise.
And if it wasn’t for Pinterest, I would be without this life-changing, soul-affirming bowl of noodles. And I wouldn’t have been able to share them with you.
UPDATE: So, I have been having this for lunch for three days straight now (they don’t call it crack for nothing!) and I thought I’d add a few more observations here before I go off the deep and with this stuff: 1. Taste your sauce after you make it…then adjust the seasonings to suit your taste (I found that I like it sweeter so now I up the sugar) and I’m sure you can even add/change/tweak to suit your particular preferences as you go along, 2. My 300 gram package of dry noodles made three servings for me in total, 3. I made a version where I crushed the crispy chicken crackling (like what I did with these eggs) with Sichuan pepper and white pepper so I get what I know call “crack crumbs”…oh my! 4. I added some chopped cilantro stems to the green onions…also nice! Basically, this is an incredible bowl of noodles that is relaxed in its execution. But don’t skip The Crack…because it wouldn’t be a Crack Slurp without it!
If you don’t have a Pinterest account, and would like to try it out, you can use this link to sign up – valid for the first 10 people and only for a limited time!
If you want a more organized and focused account of what Pinterest can do for you, check out Martine’s blog post here.
If you want to know how Pinterest can help market your blog (a topic on which I am very poorly equipped), check out Trisha’s post.
Because as we all know, as evidenced by my rambling above, that I’m just here for the carbs! (And if you are too…you can follow me on Pinterest here)