Ginger Scallion Sauce with Noodles

Update: I created my own green onion oil/ginger scallion sauce recipe!

green onions and ginger

The Ginger Scallion Sauce is very likely the easiest recipe in the book, but maybe I’m getting too into Momofuku’s multi-step recipes because I was a bit disappointed. The sauce was lacking flavour and had too much of a raw taste.

momofuku ginger scallion sauce

I’ve actually had the ginger scallion sauce with the Momofuku fried chicken and it tasted distinctly different. I didn’t wait the requisite 15-20 minutes for the sauce to rest, so that could possibly be the reason why the flavours didn’t meld and the onions tasted so raw.

ginger scallion sauce for 2

Looking my version of the sauce and a photo of the Momofuku sauce, I can see that they look pretty different. The Momofuku sauce has more oil and is a bit more brown, maybe due to more soy sauce. I remember the sauce being addictive when I was eating it so I was really looking forward to having it tossed with noodles, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

ginger scallion sauce on noodles

Scallions, ginger, oil, soy sauce, sherry vinegar and salt are stirred together. The ratio of scallion to ginger to oil is about 10:2:1. The sauce gets better as you let it sit, so while you’re waiting, you can prepare your noodle toppings. I did quick-picked cucumbers, bamboo shoots and soy sauce pickled mushrooms.

pickled shiitakes

The sauce tossed with noodles was delicious, but it was lacking something. Hoisin sauce? Chang does say that you can add it, so I did, and it was better. Mike topped his with sriracha and that made it taste even better, but there was still something missing.

ginger scallion sauce noodles, quick pickled cucumbers, pickled shiitakes, bamboo shoots

It’s a bold statment to say “ginger scallion sauce is one of the greatest sauces or condiments ever.” And maybe if I was eating Chang-made sauce I would agree, but for me, I think this recipe needs some tweaking for it one of my favourite sauces.

close up for ginger scallion noodles

25 Comments add yours

  1. I had the exact same reaction…it was a bit bland. Maybe I’ll try the variation you came up with!

    Hey KT,
    Yeah, I think cooking the green onions releases some oil…but maybe I just didn’t let Chang’s version sit long enough?

    steph on February 8th, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I think David Chang punked us with his cookbook. This ginger scallion “sauce” is clumpy and raw, and his bo ssam recipe has too much sickening salt. I was really disappointed, but relieved to see I’m not alone.

    hfish on January 5th, 2013 at 5:44 pm
  2. I had the same reaction. I was expecting to be wow’d and it was just bland. I felt it needed acid for my taste so I added more ginger and some rice vinegar.

    Meredith,
    Lots of people have been saying that the sauce isn’t like the one they have at Momofuku and I’d have to agree. It was so good when I had it there so I wonder what I’m doing wrong. I’ll have to add more rice vinegar next time!

    steph on February 22nd, 2010 at 1:55 pm
  3. stumbled across this blog….and i totally agree. after reading the recipe, i was thinking this would be one of those things youd make a lot. totally lame and disappointing!

    I keep wondering if I’m making it wrong, since other people rave about it so much…

    steph on March 19th, 2010 at 1:56 am
    nipsey russell on March 6, 2010 at 9:59 am
  4. I too found it not as good as it could be, I doctored it up with fish sauce, hoisin and sriracha. Probably nothing like the original, but I’ve never had that pleasure. Next time I think I will try your cooked version.

    Cheers!

    Adding the hoisin and sriracha was necessary for me! I tried making it again recently, and again, no go. Really, I feel like the recipe is nothing like how it is at Momofuku. Hope the cooked version turns out!

    steph on March 19th, 2010 at 1:58 am
  5. I made this a couple times and the second time came out great! I think a problem with this recipe is he should have given the measurements by weight. 2.5 cups of really finely sliced scallions will differ from 2.5 cups of roughly sliced scallions. Same goes with the ginger.

    Also the second time I made it was with Usukuchi soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce. Perhaps that made a difference, or maybe I just lucked out on the proportions.

    Do you use Usukuchi soy sauce? Do you know what kind of Miso and Sherry Vinegar David Change uses? I find my Miso butter too salty and Sherry Vinegar too sour..

    I did use the usukuchi soy sauce so I’m not too sure what happened. It might be the amount of green onions like you said.

    Not too sure what kind of miso paste Chang uses, but I find most of the recipes that call for miso butter too salty for my taste and have taken to cutting the miso butter portions down. As for the sherry vinegar, he doesn’t mention which one he uses.

    steph on March 24th, 2010 at 2:30 pm
  6. When we make it for Steamed Chicken in our chinese home, we heat up the oil first and then pour it into the ginger/scallion mixture. (The way you would pour on hot oil for steamed fish or I suppose make a turkey skin crispy.) Also hand grinding it in a japanese mortar and pestle (the ones with those lines in it for making sesame paste) helps make it all yummy and pasty rather than oily). I think the ginger emulsifies it.

    I prefer heating up the oil for green onion oil too. It makes the green onion flavour a bit milder and so much more delicious.

    steph on April 2nd, 2010 at 11:33 am
  7. If you thought it was bland, try it again with a spoonful of XO sauce (Chang’s, not store-made) sauteed for a minute then tossed into the noodles. Completely different experience.

    Maybe I’ll give it a try!

    steph on April 24th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
  8. just came across your site…nice work! i hate to cook but i have already made pickles (cucumber+carrot+onion) and the ginger scallion sauce. ate everything all together with a fried egg and some rice…minimal effort but so delicious, thanks for your detailed commentary on all your efforts!

  9. I don’t know – I have found that I thoroughly enjoy this every time I make it, but I always serve it with a little bit of stir-fried veggies that have been tossed with some thinned hoisin sauce at the last second. Also, the waiting time is essential – and I tend to leave it somewhere warm and stir it periodically. That way the salt is better able to break down the cell walls of the green onion and ginger.

  10. I make this “sauce” at least once a week and it definitely is one of my all time favorites for noodles, or anything. I noticed that in your recipe you’re using “soy sauce.” Are you using regular soy sauce, or light soy sauce (which is lighter in color, and way higher in sodium than regular soy sauce). Make sure you’re using the “light” (not to be confused with “lite” soy sauce, which actually means lower in sodium) variation. Sort of tough to find this at a supermarket, but you can order it online or find it an any Asian supermarket.

    Other tips I can suggest: 1) Use grapeseed/safflower oil. 2) Use a good quality sherry vinegar (as opposed to stuff on your market’s shelf; I use Jerez XO). 3) Use kosher salt. 4) Some sugar/hoisin sauce (1-2 T) helps balance sweetness/saltiness. 5) Make sure the ginger is really, really finely minced (this part takes a while). And finally, 6) Stir and let it sit for a 20+ minutes.

  11. I don’t know if leaving it out for 20 minutes will make that much of a difference but try heating it through since I’m assuming this sauce is a take on the Chinese one and they always heat it through.

  12. I totally agree — just tried this sauce tonight and it really didn’t do anything for me. Mostly just overwhelmingly tasted like biting into a raw scallion, even after resting for half an hour. I tried adding more acid, in the form of lime juice, but that wasn’t good either.

  13. Recipes are to guide…most important things is to use recipes as “reference” always taste and adjust to your liking :)

  14. Just found this site for the first time – nice job! No updates in a while though!

    Anyway, my mom makes a variation of momofuku’s ginger scallion sauce and it comes out the same if not better.

    Try cutting the scallions on a bias and even after you’re done cutting the bunch of scallions, keep on chopping the scallions. The more surface area the more “pasty” it will be. Mince the ginger as finely as you can – that also helps with the flavor.

    my mom’s trick is to lay out the scallions in a pie plate so it’s spread out, sprinkle the minced ginger on top and heat up the oil until it’s almost smoky. Put the pie plate in the bottom of an empty sink and slowly drizzle the oil over the ginger scallion mixture. As the hot oil meets the scallions, it will bubble and hiss, cooking the scallions, bringing out the delicious flavor of both the scallions and mixture. Slowly pour the hot oil over the entire plate and when you’re done, mix it all together and add a splash of soy.

    Great sauce to put over anything and everything – noodles, chicken, beef, veggies, etc etc etc

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