Have you heard of Lucky Peach? It’s a quarterly journal of food and writing. Each issue focuses on a single theme, and explores that theme through essays, art photography, and recipes. They are scheduled to release their first cookbook on October 27th.
The cookbook Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes contains a lot of tempting and unusual recipes (such as miso clam chowder and fish sauce spareribs), I found one of the most intriguing a sauce they call Odd Flavor Sauce. I’ve renamed it Yum Sauce because it is delicious and I don’t think the flavors are odd at all. I wanted a savory sauce for a simple bowl of rice with roast vegetables and a rice porridge. Yum sauce looked like the perfect counterpoint to jazz things up. The ingredients aren’t really that odd: soy sauce, tahini or peanut butter, black or regular red wine vinegar, sesame oil, sugar and salt. A few other ingredients—chopped scallion, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, and Sichuan peppercorns—briefly hit a hot skillet before mixing it all together.
There is a lot of flavor packed into a spoonful of this sauce. There is heat from the chiles, punch from the peppercorns, tartness from the vinegar, umami from the soy sauce, and nuttiness from the peanut butter and sesame oil. The combination is perfect!
Yum Sauce (makes about 1/2 cup)
- 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of tahini, almond butter, or peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon black Chinese vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil (dark, roasted)
- 2 teaspoons of sugar (1 teaspoon if using nut butter with sugar)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil (canola or other vegetable)
- 1 small scallion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed Sichuan peppercorns
- Combine the soy sauce, tahini or other nut butter, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and salt in a small heatproof bowl and mix until emulsified and the sugar is dissolved.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat, add the oil. When shimmering add the scallions, garlic, ginger, chili flakes, and crushed peppercorns.
- Remove from the heat and stir for 10 seconds. Pour the contents of the skillet into the bowl with the liquid seasonings and whisk until blended.
- Once cool, refrigerate. It will keep in the fridge for about two days.
Use to add flavor to a rice bowl, soup, or any other bland dish.
This sauce has many uses, I recently purchased some baby lobster tails at Costco, it made a wonderful sauce to brush on them before roasting. Brush the lobster tails with about 1 tablespoon of sauce, wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil, bake at 450 degeees for 22 minutes.