It is time to get this out there, it’s been stewing long enough in my head. I’m gonna start by saying that David Chang of Momofuku deserves every bit of his fame and I have drunk deeply from the well of his cooking philosophy, which is roughly: make some stuff that taste really freaking good from whatever inspiration you find. But he wouldn’t have said, “stuff”, or, “freaking”. He usually does this by hitting the sweet, salt, fat + aromatic combos hard on all fronts.
After introducing the Momofuku ginger scallion sauce to some friends of mine, having gone on and on and on about it on Facebook and elsewhere, especially after having made “asian tacos” like this one night:
My friend and I got to talking about ways to modify it, adding some heat, cooking the scallions, etc. but mostly within the frame of Asian flavors. The next day during my drive home, I started thinking about taking a similar flavor profile: allium + aromatic + oil + salt + robust + acid – and reforming it with Latin flavors. It all just started to fall together in my mind and I got really excited on the drive home. I started with scallions as the base, thought to replace ginger with cilantro & cumin and substitute lime juice for vinegar. I wasn’t entirely sure about the role of soy, but that seemed like an umami-type contribution, and a small amount of tomato & garlic seemed to be the right thing to do. I am perhaps a little embarrassed to admit at this point, but I was so excited about this that I started getting breathless. I just pulled off unexpectedly at a grocery store running around getting the basic ingredients, raced home just FREAKING OUT!! I had like 13 minutes until I had to leave my house to pick up some of the kids and I just whipped out a small sample using the above ingredients plus some jalapeno peppers from the gardens. I slapped a corn tortilla with some cheddar cheese on the stove top and when melted, slathered on some sauce and WHOA!!! It was unbelievable. 4 tortillas later, I was shouting and eating the stuff directly. I had to meet my wife for the child pickup and transfer, and I started breathlessly telling her about it and she made me promise to save some for her when she got home 2 HOURS LATER!! Amazingly enough, I did save some, and she went nuts as well, which is always a good sign.
I was afraid that I had oversold it a bit, so I just remade a double batch last night (really, there must be a better way to chop scallions, but the Cuisinart is no good at this task) and it was still tremendous. Gave some to a coworker with a much more discriminating palate than my own and he was impressed as well.
So there you go: Mexifuku Sauce. I strongly recommend that you eat this with tacos prepared from corn tortillas in frying oil (greasy taco shells just makes this amazing) along with some rice, beans, but avoid guacamole (it masks the aromaticity)
2 ½ cups thinly cut scallions
½ cup chopped cilantro
¼ teaspoon cumin (or more to taste)
¼ cup corn oil (or other neutral oil)
2 tablespoons finely, finely chopped tomatoes
½ teaspoon chopped jalapeno pepper.
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
½ tablespoon lime juice (i.e 1 ½ teaspoons)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt