Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ginger-Scallion Sauce

I'm not a fan of Hainanese chicken. Chicken skin that's any paler than a Jersey Shores cast member's gives me the heebie-jeebies.  My mom even browns the chicken in tinola (a Filipino boiled chicken soup) when she makes it for me. But what saves Hainanese chicken is that delicious ginger-scallion sauce, because I think I would eat my cats if you smeared some of that stuff on them.

What??? I kid, I kid!
This sauce is so good, I'll use my chopsticks to painstakingly scrape off every single pallid little goosebump off my chicken, just so I can drown each slice in ginger-scallion goodness.

So anyway, this sauce has now become immensely popular in the US, thanks to David Chang of Momofoku fame, whose Ginger-Scallion Noodles have become a signature dish at Noodle Bar, his more affordable restaurant.

Recently, I came across Francis Lam's adaptation of Chang's ginger-scallion sauce.  Lam's version heats the oil to sizzling and then pours it on the ginger and scallions, cooking the mixture and mellowing its bite. Liking the sound of sizzle, I decided to get going.

Ginger-Scallion Sauce
adapted from recipes by David Chang and Francis Lam

2 bunches scallions, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 ounces ginger, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup oil, peanut or grapeseed
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
3/4 teaspoons rice vinegar
Kosher or sea salt, to taste

1. Whirl the scallions in a food processor until they’re finely minced but not puréed. Put them in a wide, tall, heatproof bowl, several times bigger than you think you need.

2. Grind up the ginger in the food processor until it’s about the same size as the scallions. Put it into the bowl with the scallions.

3. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar and salt to taste.

3. Heat the oil until it just barely starts to smoke. Then pour it into the bowl and brace yourself for the sizzle.

4. Let cool to room temperature. Taste and add more salt as needed. 

When Lam says a big and heatproof bowl, he ain't kidding.

I slathered this on some baked halibut with paprika. I used a whole cup of oil as called for in Lam's recipe. Way too much. Stick to half a cup.

I have to say, while I loved Lam's version too, I can't quite say that I loved it MORE than the original ginger-scallion sauce I know and love. See, I actually don't mind the sharp bite of the original. But it is equally awesome.

And life is full of so many difficult choices, already. So isn't it great when you DON'T have to choose? Make both and then just stash them in the fridge. Trust me, you can't have too much of this stuff. Pour over chicken, beef, shrimp, vegetables, eggs, rice, noodles, anything and everything, really. Except maybe cats.



  1. How can you hate Hainanese Chicken?? But then again, come to think of it, I think I'm more in love with the rice than the chicken itself. AND THIS SAUCE!!! Been dying for a recipe, thanks!

  2. White chicken skin just grosses me out. One accidental bite of it, no matter how small, and it's game over for me. The original is even easier, no sizzling required. Just pour the oil on the ginger-scallion mixture, then let it sit for at least 15-20 minutes. Try both and let me know which one you prefer!

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