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Sometimes tastes come from unexpected places. After reading countless articles about David Chang and Momofuku and seeing the recipe posted for his Ginger Scallion sauce, I decided to give it a try.

The “sauce” stirred up childhood memeories of when my grandmother would bring back a simple poached chicken from Chinatown. On the side they would give you a small container of minced ginger, green onions, mixed with oil and salt. After trying this version from David Chang, it made me crave a simple poached chicken.

David calls for really whatever you have on hand, such as his Bamboo Shoots (page 54 of Momofuku), Quick-Pickled Cucumbers, pan-roasted cauliflower, a pile of sliced scallions, and a sheet of toasted nori.

After seeing I was running low on dried shiitakes, I hit the store. The randomness of my grocery store always makes for an interesting way to try to get a recipe done. This time they had no dried shiitakes – but they did have fresh ones and along with fresh snow peas, and a packages of noodles, I was in business.

I sauteed the trimmed snow peas and mushrooms in a little oil with a touch of black pepper, and served it with a bit of leftover pan seared beef, and a squirt of hoisin.

The noodle sauce was very good. But, after taking a mouthful of noodles with that pungently rich and intense sauce, I took a bite of a fresh shiitake and I was overwhelmed by the unexpected deep earthy flavour of the mushrooms. It was like tasting a mushroom for the first time. I never knew a simple mushroom could be so surprising.

When someone asks you what “unami” is, this, something so simple, absolutely what you should serve them.

But I still want my grandmother to bring me a chicken back from Chinatown.

Excerpt from:

Momofuku

Ginger Scallion Noodles and Ginger Scallion Sauce

Our ginger scallion noodles are an homage to/out-and-out rip-off of one of the greatest dishes in New York City: the $4.95 plate of ginger scallion noodles at Great New York Noodletown down on the Bowery in Chinatown.

Ginger scallion sauce is one of the greatest sauces or condiments ever. Ever. It’s definitely a mother sauce at Momofuku, something that we use over and over and over again. If you have ginger scallion sauce in the fridge, you will never go hungry: stir 6 tablespoons into a bowl of hot noodles–lo mein, rice noodles, Shanghai thick noodles–and you’re in business. Or serve over a bowl of rice topped with a fried egg. Or with grilled meat or any kind of seafood. Or almost anything.

At Noodle Bar, we add a few vegetables to the Noodletown dish to appease the vegetarians, add a little sherry vinegar to the sauce to cut the fat, and leave off the squirt of hoisin sauce that Noodletown finishes the noodles with. (Not because it’s a bad idea or anything, just that we’ve got hoisin in our pork buns, and too much hoisin in a meal can be too much of a good thing. Feel free to add it back.)

The dish goes something like this: boil 6 ounces of ramen noodles, drain, toss with 6 tablespoons Ginger Scallion Sauce (below); top the bowl with 1/4 cup each of Bamboo Shoots (page 54 of Momofuku); Quick-Pickled Cucumbers (page 65 of Momofuku); pan-roasted cauliflower (a little oil in a hot wide pan, 8 or so minutes over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the florets are dotted with brown and tender all the way through; season with salt); a pile of sliced scallions; and a sheet of toasted nori. But that’s because we’ve always got all that stuff on hand. Improvise to your needs, but know that you need ginger scallion sauce on your noodles, in your fridge, and in your life. For real.– David Chang

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites; from 1 to 2 large bunches)
1/2 cup finely minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 1/2 teaspoons usukuchi (light soy sauce)
3/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
(Makes about three cups)

Directions
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.

Of course, I couldn’t find any sherry vinegar. I substituted real sherry and rice wine vinegar.

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