Ginger Scallion Sauce Recipe

Ginger Scallion Sauce

I’ve long been uneasy about spring onions. It’s the kind of produce that I feel deserves a special treatment that will make it shine — local scallions are in season but briefly before the onion part bulges and takes over the green stems — but I’m never quite sure what that treatment might be.

They taste too sharply onion-y to me to be served solo as a side vegetable, yet cooking them with other vegetables seems wasteful, because then their spring nature gets lost in the shuffle and they are reduced to playing the role of an expensive onion.

It occurs to me just now that using them in a stir-fry with noodles and a little meat or perhaps shrimp would be a fine solution (I’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and he does like his stir-fry), but for some reason I don’t really do stir-fries (though I’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and now I might do more stir-fries).

This is why I was thrilled to add David Chang‘s ginger scallion sauce to my spring onion repertoire. The recipe is in his Momofuku cookbook, co-written with Peter Meehan, which I borrowed from my Hidden Kitchen friends*. It also happens to be excerpted on the Amazon page, so I suspect this might be the single most executed recipe from the book, and deservedly so: it is very simple (six ingredients and as many minutes of prep) and very good.

All you do is take a bunch of scallions, slice them finely, and toss them with fresh ginger and a salty-sour dressing. The resulting mixture David Chang calls a sauce, but you shouldn’t imagine a sauce in the conventional sense: it’s chunky, not liquid, but it is meant to be spooned over things, so it might best be described as a cross between a sauce and a condiment.

Piquant from the onion, hot from the ginger, and savory from the soy sauce, it is an outspoken topping that will amp up any number of preparations, Asian-inspired or otherwise, so it’s a great one to have up your sleeve.

In the book, it is presented as part of a dish of ramen noodles topped with (really quick) quick-pickled cucumbers, bamboo shoots, pan-roasted cauliflower, and torn pieces of nori seaweed. I’ve done a sort of take on that (with lo mein noodles and without the cauliflower or bamboo shoots), and we’ve also had it over various other things like tofu, rice, scrambled eggs, or steamed potatoes with smoked trout — the latter was particularly successful. Chang recommends it with grilled meat, too, and I can see how well that would work.

* Did you know my Hidden Kitchen friends have a blog now? Well, they do!

Ginger Scallion Sauce

- one bunch scallions (a.k.a. spring onions), about 200 grams (1/2 pound) — choose fresh ones with vibrant green stalks, and no yellowed or browned parts
- one knob fresh ginger, about 70 grams (2 1/2 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Trim the scallions, removing the root part and the tips of the greens if slightly bruised. Slice the scallions finely, and place them in a medium bowl.

Peel the ginger using the tip of an upturned spoon and grate it finely — using a box grater, a ceramic grater, or your impressive knife skills. Add the grated ginger to the bowl.

Add the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and salt, and toss well; I like to do this with chopsticks because it feels nice. Let rest for 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature before using, so the scallions will settle and the flavors will come together. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a day or two, well covered.

Adapted from the Momofuku cookbook, by David Chang and Peter Meehan.

Cooking/baking time: no-cook recipe

  • http://operagirlcooks.com Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

    Yum, what a lovely, bright condiment! I imagine this would be great atop a steamed whole fish.

  • Sam Bernstein

    That is very interesting, how you toss the scallions in a salty-sour dressing. Does this take away that “too oniony flavor” for you?
    This is such a simple side, and it seems as though it would compliment anything!

  • http://thecastlerockincook.blogspot.com/ My Kitchen in the Rockies

    I like the combo of Ginger and green onions (even leeks). Could imagine it over a nice grilled piece of fish.

  • http://hungryamateurs.blogspot.com Omid Tavallai

    This is awesome stuff. Liquid (and somewhat chunky) crack.

    Once I got around to making it (I was just reading the Momofuku book for fun, not recipes), I haven’t been able to stop eating this sauce. Especially since it’s so easy to make. I modified it a bit to use ramps (more earthy than scallions) and Japanese hon-mirin (a touch sweeter), as well…

    Which isn’t to say that Chang’s original version isn’t excellent to begin with.

  • http://www.paulatlan.net Paul A.

    Quick recipe from Marc Bitman at the New York Times : Slice the scallions in half, stand 15 mn in olive oil, grill 5 to 10 minutes (on a plancha or the bbq) until well colored.

    Finish with parsley and lemon juice.

    Serve as a side to grilled fish. No oniony taste, a bit like leek …

  • amy

    I frequently make a sauce like this for poached or grilled chicken, Asian dumplings, noodles, tofu, veggies….or any assemblage of the above. Only difference – I usually use Rice Vinegar (instead of Sherry) and something to add just a hint of sweetness – usually a splash of Mirin, but if that’s not handy, a drop of honey. For grating ginger, I swear by my micro-plane grater.

  • http://www.streetknit.ca Sadie

    The sauce sounds great, but if you are still looking for things to do with spring onions, my favourite is to roast them in the oven. Toss them with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper and roast them at 400 degrees or fry them in a pan until they get a little charred on the outside and become tender. They lose the intense oniony flavour and become sweet. I tend to do them along with some asparagus too. It’s my husband’s fav side dish.

  • http://trainingtable.blogspot.com/ 12th Man

    concur with the Bittman recommendation, or the Spilled Milk braised scallions.

  • http://ijoemonkey.blogspot.com yj

    My mom makes this as the base of basically everything. Minus the vinegar and ginger, add some sesame oil and garlic and use it to marinate some beef. Korean BBQ. Scale it up, minus the vinegar, add the garlic, marinate some chicken pieces overnight and grill. Add in some chili pepper powder for some spice.

    Enjoy over everything!

  • http://brooklynfoodlibrary.blogspot.com/ Kate

    This looks really good…is there any good non-soy alternative to soy sauce? I love these kinds of sauces but I can’t eat soy.

  • http://www.thatveganblog.com Danielle

    This sounds like a perfect foil for starchy vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes. And it almost makes me want to cook something greasier than usual, just to use this sauce to perk it up! That might be going overboard, though. :)

  • http://www.tasteofbeirut.com tasteofbeirut

    Lovely; I like when primary ingredients are reduced to their essence and treated so simply.

  • http://www.frenchpressmemos.blogspot.com FrenchPressMemos

    I love the Momofuku cookbook and this sauce is outstanding.

    Grilling scallions is a great option. I just coat them in a bit of olive oil, sprinkle some kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and throw them on the grate over hot coals in the Big Green Egg. A few short minutes later, I get a nice springy summer dish!

  • http://www.gourmet-chick.com gourmet chick

    It sounds like a really useful sauce and I imagine it would be amazing on cold soba noodles as a summer lunch or dinner

  • http://www.crispytarts.blogspot.com The French

    I love spring onions! Can’t wait to try this!

  • http://www.zomppa.com Belinda @zomppa

    This sauce goes well with anything!

  • Yvonne

    This is actually a very common sauce in Chinese cuisine and to Coco, steamed fish with ginger scallion sauce is exactly how we eat it (sea bass in particular)!

  • http://www.caseyangelova.com Casey Angelova

    The scallions season has come and gone in Bulgaria. I love the joy of going to the garden and picking them minutes before using them. I will book mark this for next year.

  • http://tastycolours.blogspot.com Magdalena

    I love scallions, this simple recipe sounds to be very tasty;
    I am quite unhappy that scallions are not so easy to get in France; on the contrary, in Poland you can get them very easily all; all over the year (of course, those you can get in winter are different, but still I buy them).
    Chopped scallions are one of my favorite toppings for sandwiches, salad, stir-fries (I do a lot of stir fries), soups, meat, fish.

  • Wendy Hutton

    A great way to cook spring onions/scallions is to stir-fry some diced firm tofu until golden, throw in a big handful of spring onions cut in 8 cm lengths, a splash of light soy sauce and stir-fry for about a minute, until the greens wilt slightly. Delicious and nutritious too!

  • http://www.themessyapron.com shannon abdollmohammadi

    I am going to make this sauce for a pork roast I am making. Sounds wonderful!!!

  • choi

    You can add little bit of cayenne or chili powder. Soy sauce with scallions is very common combination in Korean cuisine.

  • http://gourmetlab.blogspot.com/ Chandrika

    I love this recipe, delicious and simple. Scallion pancake that you get in Chinese restaurant is another great way to use scallion. They are just delicious with chili flakes infused soy sauce.

  • http://www.parisbreakfast.com parisbreakfasts

    I wonder if this would break my aversion to spring onions?
    It’s so tiresome picking them out of salads and looks downright foolish.
    Must give it a whirl.
    Anything David Chang does gets big raves in NYC..

  • http://www.elisabetfigueras.com/ Elisabet Figueras

    I love scallions and I love this kind of recipe, easy, simple but at the same time very tasty.
    Thank you very much

  • http://www.traculart.blogspot.com Chef Jim

    Simple, yes; Versatile, absolutely; tasty priceless!

  • Marcia

    I use Spring Onions instead of regular dried onions because of the price. Tonight, I sliced a green onion and included all of the top that I could and put it in black eye pea salad. Added diced cucumber, thinly sliced baby carrot, diced yellow and orange bell pepper, and the onion. Home made dill vinegar and olive oil dressing, a little S&P, and a packet of Splenda; ready to eat.

  • Rosemary in Utah

    Dinner tonight, as easy and good as can be:
    shrimp, scrambled eggs, and some of this!

  • Jo

    This is almost like Korean bbq sauce I learned to make from a Korean friend. I love it with a little grated garlic and a few drops of sesame oil.

  • http://thepinkpeppercorn.blogspot.com thepinkpeppercorn

    I’ve made this too – it’s great for adding to miso soup. Lovely!

  • http://www.tobiascooks.com tobias cooks!

    Currently I am a lot into ginger. the sauce sounds amazing. Simple and tasty.

  • http://wwfoodie.wordpress.com/ Kristen (wwfoodie)

    Lovely! Try roasting them in the oven like you would any other vegetable. Trim them first and toss them with olive oil and a good bit of salt. Devine! I’ll bet the grilling suggestion would be similar.

  • http://virtualtourist.com/kenhuocj ken huocj

    After finely shredding fresh ginger root and scallions, a small pinch of Sugar and some light Soy Sauce, Add Hot Oil, the sizzling you hear adds tot he Aromatic. With Hainan Chicken =See Singpaore.Rich Chicken stock is added ;-)))

  • http://socialmediasalon.wordpress.com/ Alexandra

    yum!! i can think of tons of things to put this sauce/condiment on already. thanks for this one.

  • http://foodandlaughter.blogspot.com Bird’s eye view

    I love scallions. I came up with a Chinese inspired salad dressing using a few scallions that’s on my website. We also use scallions cooked whole in a lentil stew called huli or sambar. I found a lovely recipe for brussels sprouts, using milk and cheese and it just occurred to me that might taste great with scallions as well

  • kim

    Looks good, the thought of adding it over smoked trout pulled me in :)
    I only buy scallions when needed in some asian stirfry recipe. I snip and sprinkle the leftovers over warm toasted bread with brie or camembert, I love that combination.

  • kooby

    My comment is absurdly late, sorry… As other people have noted, this combination is common in Chinese and Korean cooking. Just a couple notes – in Korean BBQ marinade, there is no ginger unless you are using it for fish or chicken, and no vinegar. Also, a very similar sauce to this is served (uncooked, like this one) in a Cantonese dish on top of poached chicken. It is even sold in a fast food chain all over Hawaii – it is the perfect lunch for the beach!

  • http://www.sprouthealthpdx.com Skylor

    YES PLEASE! this looks great. I often put scallions and lemon together but never scallions and ginger, I can’t wait to try. This could be a new recipe for the cooking classes!

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