Noodles with Ginger-scallion sauce, Hoisin-Fish sauce, Egg and mushrooms sauteed in Umami butter
This post is long overdue. The moment I saw a photo of David Chang devouring a plate of noodles with this sauce in the Momofuku cookbook, I knew I had to try this. The combination of ginger and scallion isn’t new, its prevalent in Japanese cuisine, but its a combination that works.
And so the first thing I ever tried to reproduce from the momofuku cookbook is the Ginger-Scallion sauce; I didn’t measure out the ingredients too precisely the first time I tried it, because I just wanted to get a rough idea on what the sauce tasted like and what it could do. I mixed it with some spaghetti (didn’t have noodles lying around) and roasted pork, then proceeded to take a bite. It was like a punch to the face, the heat from the raw ginger overpowered any other taste component in the sauce; all was not lost, however, because I liked the freshness of the scallions, and the sherry vinegar in the sauce cut richness of the roasted pork very nicely. There had to be a way to kill the raw ginger taste, or at least tone it down a little.
It says in the cookbook, “finely minced peeled fresh ginger”, the first time I made the sauce, I pushed cubes of ginger through a garlic press, this left fairly large chunks of ginger in the sauce. The second time, I decided to finely grate the ginger, this proved to be a lot harder than it sounds because ginger is very fibrous and the grater needed constant cleaning. Regardless, I ended up with a consistency that I would describe as a paste, which was good, I didn’t want to be biting into anymore chunks of ginger.
I did some research on the sauce online, and I found that some people had success with killing the heat by frying the sauce with noodles. I didn’t want to do this because it would kill some of the freshness and bite of the scallion, so I put the ginger paste in a non-stick pan with a little oil and I heat it on low-medium heat for a minute or two. I made the sauce as per instructions, then I tossed the noodles in simmering water, took them out, dried them and mixed the sauce into the noodles with my hands. The result was good, the taste of ginger was subtle and there was only a hint of heat, delicious. Its not hard to see why this is a mother sauce in Momofuku, and trust me, having a bowl of this sitting in the refrigerator will get you pretty excited about leftover noodles.
Note: The sauce is not as flavourful as a tomato or espagnole sauce, and you shouldn’t expect it to be, that’s not what it brings to the table. Which is why I drizzled a sauce made from fish sauce and hoisin sauce over the noodles. David Chang uses hoisin sauce.
Ginger Scallion Sauce
Makes about 3 cups
Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. Though it’s best after 15 or 20 minutes of sitting, ginger scallion sauce is good from the minute it’s stirred together up to a day or two in the fridge. Use as directed, or apply as needed.
2½ cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)
½ cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger
¼ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
1½ teaspoons soy sauce, preferably usukuchi (light soy sauce), found in Asian markets
¾ teaspoon sherry vinegar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste