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Recipe by David Chang

"Nobu Matsuhisa is a force of nature. He’s a huge reason why Japanese food has the foothold it does in America. But the truth is, he’s not really cooking purely Japanese. He spent his formative years cooking in Peru, and a lot of his most popular dishes are a blend of international influences. Tempura itself is a fusion food. The Portuguese introduced battered, fried foods to Japan in the 16th century.  

Spicy tempura rock shrimp is one of the most popular Nobu dishes of all time. For Jay Pharoah and Lil Jon, I wanted to produce an ode to Nobu, while merging it with one of my favorite things to serve with fried foods: salsa seca. 

If you can’t find rock shrimp, you can cut up larger U15 or U20 shrimp. Dredge in flour, then coat in a batter of AP flour and soda water. For a hacky version of Nobu’s spicy mayo, I just mixed Kewpie mayo with sriracha. Don’t tell Nobu-san."


Salsa Seca

"This is salsa seca in name only. It’s the best descriptor for this dry, crunchy, spicy mix, but in actuality, the recipe is a combination of seven or eight overlapping dishes and memories. My whole career has been about swimming in these intersecting currents of deliciousness. I love seeing that Korean anjou (drinking snacks) have the same crunchy, savory appeal of Indian chivda, or that Sichuan cooks have the same fearlessness about cooking with whole dried chillies that Mexican cooks do. 

You can’t make this stuff up. Everyone wants to eat delicious things, and no matter how different you think we are, a lot of our tastes overlap. This recipe is a combination of the many crunchy-spicy-savory-sweet combinations of chilies, seeds, nuts, and spices I’ve encountered in my life. There’s a bit of influence from typhoon-shelter crab (fried garlic and jalapeños), la zi ji, and kung pao chicken (two Sichuan chicken dishes with lots of fragrant dried chilies). All the various seeds and nuts makes me think of savory granola. The shredded nori brings furikake to mind. The puffed rice reminds me of Indian chaat. And all the dried seafood recalls Korean anjou. There’s really no wrong way to make this, so you should adjust and substitute with whatever nuts, seeds, chilies, and crunchy bits you like as you see fit. 

Note that these instructions have you make the salsa in different stages, so that you can customize your blend at the end. You can also just throw all of this into a pan and stir-fry, if you prefer."
  • 10 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced thin
  • 1 cup fried onions (available at Asian markets)
  • 1/2 cup fried garlic (available at Asian markets)
  • 20 chiles de arbol, rough chopped (or left whole) 
  • 10–15 chiles Japones, rough chopped
  • 3 chiles guajillos, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp Momofuku Tingly salt
  • 1 cup pepitas
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds
  • 3/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup fried garlic
  • 1/4 red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoon tamari
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup shredded nori
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoon perilla seeds
  • 1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
  • 1/2 cup masago rice crackers
  • 1/2 cup shell-on roasted peanuts 
  • 2 tablespoon dried shrimp (optional)
  • 1 piece dried file fish, chopped fine (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dried squid, chopped (optional)
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • MSG
  • Black pepper
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat with a good dose of oil. Sweat the jalapeños and garlic, then add the fried onions and 1/2 cup fried garlic. Season with salt, sugar, and MSG, and stir-fry for a minute. Give it a taste, then transfer to a clean bowl. Set aside. 

Return the skillet to the flame and coat with more oil. Now fry the dried chilies for a minute, and add the peanuts, scallions, Momofuku Tingly Salt, and a three-finger pinch of sugar. Fry for a minute, give it a taste, then dump into another bowl and set aside. 

Here come the seeds. Return the skillet to the fire and coat with a hefty glug of oil. Add the pepitas, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds, along with another 1/2 cup fried garlic and 1/4 cup sugar. Add the red onion and sweat for a minute. Follow with the rice wine vinegar, tamari, and a few turns of fresh cracked black pepper. Season to taste, sauté for a minute, then transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

Return the skillet to the heat once more. Coat with oil, then add the shredded nori, pine nuts, and perilla seeds. Season with salt, sugar, and MSG. Fry for a minute, then toss in the puffed rice, rice crackers, and dried seafood. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

Now, in a large bowl, customize your mix. Add some or all of each of the various elements. Each component makes a nice rice topping or snack on its own, so don’t worry if you don’t use it all.

Watch Dinner Time Live with David Chang on Netflix now, and tune in every Tuesday at 4 p.m. PST to watch live.

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