Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Sauce Combinatorics (recipe): Ginger Scallion Sauce


The Danes don’t prioritize food like the Japanese do, but don’t mistake that for a lack of food traditions. The Danes, like the Japanese, are knee deep with what particular foods to eat when and how. For example, the fried fish (usually plaice) goes with a remoulade, a yellowish mayo-based sauce, but the pickled fish (herring) goes with “curry salad”, a different yellowish mayo-based sauce (and, btw, not at all spicy). Mix the two up, and you are, as we say in Hawaii, in deep kimchi. Read more on Danish food culture, here.

But as foreigners, you don’t have these cultural constraints to mix and match and create new dishes. The pickled fish often comes in a marinade, and I didn’t want to waste a whole jar of it after I ate all the fish. Another Japanese friend of mine used the marinade to stew meat balls: success! I’m sure the same marinade sprinkled on the fried plaice would have acted like malt vinegar on fish and chips, but it is safer to apply combinatorics on a whole new set of foods as not to offend your host country too much.

I realized I can do that with foods I am more familiar with, like Chinese. Cold Ginger Chicken is a refreshing dish, easy to make. What attracts me to it, most is the ginger scallion sauce. Chicken is merely a vehicle for transporting the sauce to your palate, so I usually make more than enough sauce. I had a plate lunch with grilled fish that came with a cup of ginger scallion sauce: a winner! A takeout Chinese place had ginger scallion fried rice: another winner! No time to fry rice? Just put it on top of hot steaming rice, and you’ll get your appetite back. Like cold tofu? A dollop of the sauce on top to dress it up beyond a splash of soy sauce.

I’m including the whole recipe for the cold ginger chicken, but really, what you want to do is make the sauce and come up with your own combinations. The sauce freezes well.

Cold Ginger Chicken


  1. Take one whole fryer chicken, trim its excess fat and pat dry. Sprinkle 2–3 tablespoons of regular salt, remembering to salt the cavity of the chicken as well. (This dry brine step keeps the chicken moist.)
  2. Place it in a container that fits the chicken on a small wire rack (like the kind that comes with your rice cooker or toaster oven). If you don’t have a rack, no worries. Refrigerate uncovered for 8 hours.
  3. In a large pot, place the chicken and dried peels of a tangerine (optional), and fill the pot with water to cover the chicken (you can also put a couple of bay leaves; or if you like some color on the chicken, you can place a black tea bag). Bring to a boil. (In the meantime, you can prep the ginger scallion sauce.)
  4. Turn the heat down to medium or medium low for about 40 min., adding water to cover the chicken as necessary. The chicken is done when you insert a knife or a skewer on the thickest part of the chicken and the juice runs clear.
  5. Remove from the pot, drain all the water from the chicken, and hack away to desired size. Serve with ginger scallion sauce.

Ginger Scallion Sauce

  1. Grate ginger to make 1 cup (you can use a food processor).
  2. Add 5 stalks of scallions/green onions, minced.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (or a little more), and add 1–2 tablespoons of sesame oil (optional).
  4. Add salt to taste (about 2 teaspoons of kosher or sea salt)

Photo: no ginger chicken here, but I bet the sauce would go well with lobster, too. Keahole lobster dish at Chef Mavro, Honolulu, Hawaii.


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This entry was posted on December 29, 2015 by in Denmark, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .
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