Saturday, February 19, 2011

Momofuku Octo-Vin Sauce (with Scallions)

David Chang of Momofuku fame says repeatedly in his cookbook that he has no idea how he got famous, that he and his crew were just a bunch of hacks, and that he was embarrassed about all the hoopla about his food.

I understand what he means.  If you look at his recipes, they are simple in ingredients.  Many of them use the same ingredients as a way of economizing and repurposing things in a small restaurant kitchen.  Many of them use techniques where food is prepared in advance and can be finished off in minutes for hungry diners.

That's exactly why David is brilliant.  His food is enduring and familiar, but it's also fresh and exciting.  It's down to earth yet on the edge.  How can that be?  I haven't quite got a handle on it yet.  I am still in awe that sauces like this Octo-vin sauce can be so surprisingly good, even though I've combined these same ingredients countless times before I ever heard of David Chang.

His sauce normally doesn't have scallions, but since I had his ginger scallion sauce on hand, I just used that instead of the ginger suggested in the recipe.  I tossed some chicken wings in the sauce, and I bet it would be good with dumplings, on steak in place of chimichurri sauce, on seafood, and grilled or steamed vegetables.  Throw in some orange juice, and I know it would be a lovely marinade.  The more I think about it, this sauce as a base for other sauces opens up many possibilities.

I hope you try it.  It will become a foundation sauce for you.

Octo-Vin Sauce

Note: If you have ginger scallion sauce on hand, you can substitute that for the ginger below.  Also, if you don't have fresh chili pepper, you can use a little red crushed pepper, hot sesame oil, cayenne, and/or ichimi togarashi to taste. David Chang cautions to cut the ginger and garlic fine, so the texture is right to the palate.

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chili pepper
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or grapeseed oil
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

freshly ground black pepper    

Mix ingredients together.

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