By now, any foodie worth their fleur de sel has heard of the Momofuku dynasty and it’s irascible ruler, Chef David Chang. With four wildly popular restaurants in operation and one on the way, a best selling cookbook and numerous awards, including a James Beard, Chef Chang is on his way to cult status. I’ve been seeing lots of Chang’s recipes on the blogs these past several months and I have to say, I’ve been curious. Not curious enough to spend $40.00 on the book (even if it does boast the longest chicken wings recipe in the world), but curious all the same. (Most days I don’t even have time to read the longest chicken wings recipe in the world, much less make it! But, that’s another story.) There are a few recipes I’ve found, however, that begged to be tried. So, I tried them. And they were great. So now, I have to buy that book.
The first recipe I tried was Momofuku’s Garlic Scallion Noodles. Brilliant in its simplicity, this dish is nothing more than ramen noodles tossed in a dressing of fresh scallions, ginger, soy, sherry vinegar and salt. You might be thinking, “What’s so special about that?”. I thought the same thing. But I have to tell you, people, it really is pretty special. There’s something about the way the flavors in the sauce marry as they hang out together that just works. Chang, himself states that “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.”
Here’s how you prepare the Ginger Scallion Sauce. First, you need to slice up a bunch of scallions…
And, dice up some fresh ginger…
Then, you mix them together with some oil, light soy sauce, sherry vinegar and salt…
Toss the sauce with noodles, and…
You have Ginger Scallion Noodles!
From what I understand the key to success with this sauce is to let it sit for at least 15-20 minutes before serving it. It actually works out perfectly, because you can cook your noodles while the sauce is “resting”. I will tell you that I found the flavor just a tiny bit bland at first, so I added more soy and sherry vinegar. I also added about a teaspoon of sugar. For me, that was just right. (Me and my damned sweet tooth!)
Chang suggests serving Garlic Scallion Noodles with various condiments, such as his Quick Pickled Cucumbers or roasted cauliflower. I went with the cucumbers because they were so simple to make. However, I would have definitely gone for the cauliflower too, if I had had any that day.
Although I didn’t do it this time, I plan to make this dish again and again playing with different proteins. I’ll bet that these would be amazing with some grilled, marinated shrimp, sea scallops or chicken. You could even top your noodles with an oozey, drippy poached egg. Oooh!
So if you’re looking for a way to “gingerly” delve into the world of Momofuku, try some Ginger Scallion Noodles. They’re fast, easy and very, very good!
Ginger Scallion Noodles
adapted from Momofuku
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 tsp usukuchi (light soy sauce)
3/4 tsp sherry vinegar
3/4 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
1 pound ramen noodles
Quick-Pickled Cucumbers (recipe follows)
1. Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed. If possible, let sauce sit for 15-20 minutes before dressing noodles.
2. While sauce sits, prepare the ramen noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with Ginger Scallion Sauce. Top with some Quick-Pickled Cucumbers if desired.
Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a side dish.
2 pickling or field cucumbers, cut into 1/8-inch thick rounds (about 4 cups)
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
In small mixing bowl, combine cucumbers, sugar and salt. Toss by hand to coat well. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate up to 4 hours.