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Momofuku / David Chang Ginger Scallion Sauce

I was thinking of buying the Momofuku cookbook, and I saw the ginger scallion recipie on the Amazon site, so I thought I'd try it. I followed the recipie for the sauce exactly - then adding 6 tablespoons of sauce for every 6 oz of noodles (I used soba not ramen noodles), and I found the flavor to be VERY overwhelming - way, way too much ginger... I don't typically cook Asian food so perhaps it is something I am doing wrong. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

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  1. is this the sauce recipe you used?

    Ginger Scallion Sauce
    Makes about 3 cups

    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

    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.

    7 Replies
      1. re: beigedog

        maybe you just used an extremely pungent piece of ginger...?

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I don't know. Perhaps I didn't mince it finely enough, but I minced it very small - not sure how I would have cut it smaller. I wonder if a microplane would have been better. . .

          Id be interested to hear from others who have made this.

          1. re: beigedog

            "I wonder if a microplane would have been better. . . "
            i've been using my microplane for so long to grate ginger & garlic, i guess i just assume everyone else does as well! it makes a huge difference. but regardless of the size of the chop/mince, the strength of the flavor would have been the same. so unless the issue is that you were biting into big chunks of raw ginger, the sauce would be just as "gingery" if you had used the microplane. i still think you may have just had super-pungent ginger. if it happens again, just dilute the sauce with more of the other ingredients to mellow out the ginger flavor.

            1. re: beigedog

              I grew up with a sauce that tastes just like this. My mom used to make a smoked chicken and used this as the sauce. Chinese cooking uses a lot of the ginger, scallion, soy sauce combo so I don't think it's strong. It's rather delicious and reminds me of home.

        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I don't even have to taste it..... 1/2 cup of ginger no matter how it's minced is way overpowering for basically 1/4 cup of liquid + 2 1/4 teaspoons of soy sauce and sherry.

          1. re: monku

            No it is not.

            Sounds fine. I make versions of this with roughly the same proportions of scallions/green onions to ginger - or with even MORE ginger by ratio, but without the soy sauce and vinegar, just good sea salt. However, the oil that goes into it is HOT oil (peanut oil, or peanut+another oil; heated till it is shimmering but not smoking), maybe a little more (by ratio) than in the recipe posted above. The mixture sizzles briefly, it is stirred well, and a sauce-like constituency results. The scallions release juices into the mixture. Oh, I also grate my ginger (pretty fine grate) and if the ginger is nice and fresh the resulting stuff is sitting in a small pool of ginger juice.

            It it possible you and the OP just don't care that much for ginger?

            Ah, digirati below says something along the lines of what I describe regarding using hot oil.

        3. I saw the recipe made a few places online and one blogger decided to try his/her own recipe after disliking the Momofuku cookbook version. The blogger heated the ginger and scallions in the oil to cut the rawness. Maybe that would help?

          1 Reply
          1. re: betterbeheaven

            Can you provide links to bloggers that have tried that recipe from the book? Thanks!

          2. I also found it too intense with an overly raw flavor, and I love ginger. I added some extra soy sauce and some hoisin sauce to balance it out. It does mellow out after a bit in the fridge though. And yes, heating it for a minute while you toss it with noodles will go a long way.

            I've found it works best as a ready-made garnish on other noodle or rice cake dishes to add some brightness.

            4 Replies
            1. re: MFalk

              I found it too raw too. . Next time I'll try cutting back on the ginger.

              1. re: bizkat

                Anyone have a recipie that they like?

                1. re: beigedog

                  I made this last night with some slight variations. I made the sauce about two hours in advance to let it mellow out... I also mixed in all the ingredients in the sauce first and then started with the ginger and kept adding until the flavor worked for me. I'd say I used between 1/3 to 1/2 a cup.

                  His quick pickles were fantastic, and I also added pork bulgogi, bamboo shoots and broccoli.

                  The dish was wonderful - with a real lingering light ginger flavor that tasted even better cold the next day!

              2. re: MFalk

                Oh dear - I must say that for me the mixing of this sauce with hoisin sauce is one of the LAST things I would do - but again that's me.

              3. Maybe you're just not a fan of ginger? I tend to make the sauce ahead of time, so it's sitting in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before being served and I haven't found any flavor overpowering by that time. It's definitely not too raw, either (at least, for our tastes). I guess I should note I also used a microplane on the ginger. That may have helped the flavors melding. I'm a huge fan of the ginger scallion sauce and have been putting it on everything - eggs, rice, ramen, leftover meats, more eggs...

                I have the cookbook and so far have been loving it. But, I also love Asian flavors, so that may be part of it?

                1. I thought it was awesome, and I'm not even a huge ginger guy. One thing I noticed right off the bat was that the recipe in no way makes 3 cups. So if you take that into account and add a proportional amount of sauce (more like 3 T), it shouldn't be overwhelming at all, at least it wasn't to me.

                  How much noodles did you use? 6 oz dry or fresh? I'm not a huge fan of soba, but I could imagine it being a bit delicate for this sauce. Fresh ramen or chow mein noodles (the latter being easier to find, particularly in big American supermarkets) have a nice flavor that stands up to the sauce. Just make sure not to overcook them.

                  Or, it could just be a personal thing. Who knows?

                  1. I have the Momofuku cookbook as well but this particular recipe had me scratching my head. I've never come across a ginger scallion sauce recipe where the garlic and ginger wasn't submerged in hot oil first to cut the raw taste of ginger and garlic.

                    Try combining the ginger and garlic in a saucepan. Heat the oil in another sauce pan to about 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Slowly pour oil into saucepan with the garlic/ginger mixture (be careful it may splatter). Let oil cool and add all the other ingredients. The flavor will be a lot more mellow but it will still retain the gingery and garlicky notes without being overwhelming.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: digirati

                      Did you try it raw? I thought it would be overpowering too, but it wasn't (in my opinion). There's no garlic, btw. That would definitely be overpowering!

                    2. This is the first thing I made from the book, and we love it. I do it a little differently, though. I make the sauce just as the book says, then use it as a 'stir fry' sauce, adding it to the protein and veg. I cook it for a minute, then add the noodles to the wok and stir it all up.
                      I have found that adding a bit of nuoc cham (fish sauce vinaigrette in the book) and some chopped kimchi to the bowl is good too.

                      1. I just made this, and it was awesome. However, there was too much ginger for me too (and I love ginger) BUT I am sure that this is because the ginger I had was on the bitter side, as I've found the ginger I've bought around here to be bitter in all kinds of environments. By which I mean recipes.

                        I know there's a Hawaiian ginger that has smooth skin and a mellower flavor, but besides that (as I can only find that once in a while), does anyone have a recommendation for finding non-bitter ginger? Besides not buying older, wrinkly ginger . . .

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: guilty

                          francis lam @ salon had his own version of this sauce which involved tipping hot oil over the raw ingredients + i found that waaaaaaay better.

                          1. re: t_g

                            Heating oil and then adding ginger and green onion is the usual way this is done iMO. For those who didn't like the recipe, I'd recommend trying it that way again.

                            Very hot oil, add ginger and then green onion and some salt etc.

                            Perhaps it was an oversight in the book? It wouldn't be the first time I've seen a book misdirect a recipe.

                            Alternatively if it's added to something that is very hot, it would in effect help to cook the rawness out.

                        2. @LUV_TO_EAT is correct...the Indomitable Mr. Chang forgot an important step. Cooking the damn stuff! You pour screamin hot oil over the ginger/scallion mixture...

                          1. Love this recipe but I also love ginger. I use my ginger grater which works far better than a microplane (which I used for years). My ginger grater has a lip around it that saves the ginger juice as well.

                            I agree with those of you who mentioned the screaming hot oil bit.