Chinese Index Sauces Vegan Video


[one_half][W]hen I first heard mention of “National Men Make Dinner Day,” I thought it was some kind of joke. What’s next? “National Women Change Light Bulb Day?” I’ve since made two key realizations:

  1. It takes place in Canada (which is perhaps all I needed to know).
  2. According to the website, I am apparently exempt from this activity:

Are you a man who makes dinner on a regular or semi-regular basis?
If the answer is ‘YES”, do not go any further!
National Men Make Dinner Day is NOT for you!

Still, the premise of a “National Men Make Dinner Day” fascinates, though I’d like clarification on a few things. For example, is the phenomenon distinct from Valentine’s Day? How does it work for gay and lesbian households? If I lived in Canada, would Matt Berninger be making me dinner? Presumably, these questions are addressed in the FAQ …

While it seems mildly condescending and more than a little sad to imply that Canadian men are so far gone that they might consider cooking one day out of 365, I do laud the intent, which is to encourage people (perhaps as many as 15 million of them) to cook their own food. I exist in a peer group where people, male or female, generally don’t cook. And I’ll admit that I myself occasionally indulge in a bit of non-cooking by way of South Asian-inspired paste that I’ve squeezed from a foil envelope. But it never hurts to remember that, in less than 17 minutes (the duration of one televised intermission in ice hockey) I can make a meal with fresh ingredients that tastes good, makes me feel good, and costs less than $2 per person.

I’ve previously posted about my love for David Chang’s ginger scallion noodles. This recipe, in addition to meeting above criteria, is one that makes you feel like a rockstar. Why bring it up again? Because I’m guessing that someone who needs coaxing to enter the kitchen may not have read my 1500+ words about ginger scallion sauce, riveting as they may be.

So let’s lower the barrier, shall we? Canadian National Man: In the time it takes for you to drink a beer, I can promise that you’ll learn how to pick and peel ginger, how to use a knife, and how to make a killer sauce that will get you dinner on the table before 17:00 have expired. You can thank me during the second intermission.

Music: One Never Says ‘Verbal’ When One Means ‘Oral’ by Good Old Neon is licensed under a Sampling Plus License.

Update: Thank you, Chef John, for featuring us on Food Wishes! [/one_half]



114 replies on “17:00”

Fantastic job, Ben! Love the opening, and I’m glad to see someone demonstrate peeling ginger with a spoon – that is my favorite way of peeling, too. Now I need to go find a bowl of ramen…

I am so going to be making this!! You made it look super easy and gave great tips, I’m sure there’ll be an upswing in ginger and scallion sales in Canada 🙂

Great job, this is definitely a winner.

Coolest geek I know.
This video is amazing. Can you teach a class on video editing so I can fly from Hawaii to SF to take it?
I’m so glad I got Momofuku for my birthday (the book, not the restaurant, but now I know what to ask for next year).

Aww, thanks! Now that I look back, there’s tons we could have done better, but I thought it wasn’t bad for our first try. I don’t know how useful I would be as a teacher, but I can certainly feed you if you come visit. 🙂

I love that I’m always learning. For the last few years, I’ve just been mincing my ginger skin and all, or cutting it down past the peel. I love the spoon trick.

(And aesthetically/artistically, I also think this video rocks SO MUCH.)

You may not be surprised to hear that the kitchen reminds me of lab all the time. Except that success involves eating something delicious rather than moving one millimeter toward a possible paper. 🙂

A great sauce is the key to a great dish many times. The ginger scallion sauce is brilliant, simple, clean and versatile. I have this on my list to make a million times. Loved your video – the music is so soothing and the intro with half your face adds such style to the video. Wonderful tips and I wish you best of luck with challenge #7!

Thanks, Lisa! Was disappointed to hear you weren’t going to be @ Fbzfest. Hope to meet you soon, perhaps at a Bay Area blogger get together? 🙂

Fabulous video! One of my favorites, so far. I stumbled it and will definitely be voting for you on Monday. The introduction with you talking about doing the video was so clever. The music is great! I loved your demonstration about how to pick fresh ginger, and your demonstration of how to use a knife was excellent! Bravo!

Good job, Ben. Cool half-face intro, I liked the recipe a lot, and I learned 2 techniques (peeling ginger with a spoon and the little hand rest on the side of a knife. (I fortunately knew about the curl – that’s why I still have 10 fingers).

This is so brilliant! I loved the beginning (so cute), the photography (or videography?) the music, the recipe, and the way you changed scenes with the simple, and amusing (happy/sad ginger) text. The instruction was so well done. From picking the right ginger, to the knife tips, to showing exactly how the ginger pieces should look – you took your time and focused on the recipe and ingredients, which sometimes take a back seat in cooking shows these days.

It seems like many of the new cooking shows are about the personality of the instructor rather than the food or the actual instruction, and are so…well, kind of loud. Which can be fun in a way, but not as awesome if you really want to learn to cook. What I love about this video is by focusing on helping us understand the food and instruction in the simple, gentle, and engaging way you did, this just has a wonderful personal, intimate and unique quality to it. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome I think this is. This is exactly the kind of cooking show I’m yearning to see. So. You guys need your own show. Just saying. Well done!!! Love love love it!!

Thanks, LeeAnn! Videography just means that the recording medium is electronic, which was the case here. But I think of it all as photography. Although the format’s completely new to us, we’re fortunate to have a very talented still photographer in-house. 🙂

He’s got knife skills, he’s funny, he’s photogenic, he’s teaching how to make a sauce that is totally AWESOME. Um, hello Ben. You are le awesome.

Fantastic video, m’dear. I wasn’t going to watch any until voting opened, but I couldn’t resist. You rock my socks.

Jax x

Love the National Men Make Dinner Day info – hilarious. Great video. Love the simplicity of the recipe. I could sure use the addition of a sauce such as this in my cooking – simple yet big on flavor. Thanks for sharing. Good luck w/ PFB!

Things I love:

The way you fondle ginger.
The skill of your talented cinematographer.
Your knife tips.
Your style.
The way you couched your video.

Things I hate:

The fact that I do not live closer because this video just renewed the Ben + Erin withdrawals I’ve been having all week.

Loved this; the beginning was unique/cute and just the simple steps of showing someone how to use a knife blade to cut all but fingers…for some that is what they need more than a fancy recipe.

Great job…now to find that sauce in a bottle that I have only previously had for soy!

Thanks. We adore documentaries, and a number of them have inspired us. I’m happy that came across. As for the competition, no one knows! Hope we both make it. 🙂

Wow, that’s a lotta scallions! Good thing I love ’em. And ginger, too. I’m not sure I think of this so much as a sauce as a… well, I’m not sure what else I’d call it, but it looks fabulous and I’m going to try it soon. Thanks for sharing your magical technique!

The texture changes dramatically once the onions have wilted. It may not be one of the Carême mother sauces, but stretching the concept to things like Latino salsas, etc. it certainly qualifies. Serves the same basic functions. Hope you do try it and let me know what you think!

I will! Just the excuse I need to head to the Asian grocery, where I bet they have scallions for a better price than the “regular” grocery. AND some yummy noodles, too.

My but you’ve got style Ben. You’ve also got a lot of ginger, which might possibly be one of my favourite things to eat (shhh, don’t tell the potato overlords) and scallions, well, I *would* eat them unadorned. Maybe not a whole bowlful, not until now, that is…

I came home from work, and after I poured myself a glass of wine I kicked back to watch your video (anticipated for days). It was a Cinderella time:) Not that you were the pumpkin – you were great, natural, confident, articulate.
99 Ranch Market is one of my favorite stores. I get lost in there. My daughter took me there for my birthday two years ago, and it was one of the best presents ever.
Great video, great post, as usual. Good luck!

Ben, I just got to speak to you briefly at our dinner table last night of FoodBuzz. I’m so happy to discover your blog, and follow your funny on twitterdom. I’m so new to this area of cooking and you just gave me the “mutha” of mother sauces and so easy. I can’t wait to try this. Loved your video, the style and the photography. Could I be a bigger geek/fan? Best of luck!

The perils of sitting next to your friends—often forget to look up and talk with the amazing company across the table! So glad to have met you. Hope we have a chance talk more at the next one. Thanks for reading!

Wait, I missed National Canadian Guilt-Trip My Man Into Cooking Me Dinner Day? Phooey.
Love everything about this video… the music, the pacing, and especially the choice of dish. Anything by David Chang is an instant winner, as far as I’m concerned.
I haven’t tried this noodle recipe yet, but it’s going on the list. As a matter of fact, I might even convince The Boy to make it for me. 🙂

I love learning that friends IRL are lurking on the blog! Great to hear from you, Dave. Let’s figure out a way to meet up one of these days. My city or yours?

Thanks, Marc! I rented a Nikon D300S for this. Erin deserves credit for the composition. What do you use? I found that I lost clarity of the video when importing into iMovie. Likely in the transcode from AVI to MP4.

I loved your video, you absolutely have my vote! The sauce looks delicious and I loved your tips for cutting the scallions. Now I just need to get my boyfriend to like raw onions…

Ah, I love that Canada has the honor of being one of this post’s tags! Who knew Canadian men were so shy to cook? Seriously, I didn’t even know about this day, if I had I would have really tried to take a day off. My man likes to cook but I’m so territorial that he hardly gets to set foot in the kitchen. Plus, he now has to bump into props, lights, my camera, lenses and laptop when he comes in to make some tea. I think I may be scaring him off a bit too much!

Anyways, thanks for highlighting this special let’s-force-guys-into-the-kitchen day. Many of my guy friends like to cook but surely many more could mettre la main à la pâte, as we say here! I love to have the chance to meet you in person via your video, and the recipe you’ve chosen, I have bookmarked a long time ago in Chang’s book. Now that I see how dead easy it is I’m sure it’s going to become an instant classic. I already eat an alarming quantity of green onions on a weekly basis, why not flavor them a little?

Thanks for sharing and I hope you’re already working on your next challenge submission 🙂

Bravo, Ben! I could not love this video more. First of all, its so great to see you again … and, honey, you are a natural. Love the claw, love the sad ginger, and really love the recipe. What a perfect choice. Plus the mood, music, and whole vibe of the video is enchanting. Count me among those waiting for you guys to get your own show. Seriously.

Good luck!

Using a spoon to peel ginger? Genius!! My sad days of wrestling with a paring knife are over 🙂

I make something similar (without sherry vinegar, add sesame oil) by scalding the ginger+scallion mix with hot vegetable oil, and eat it with Hainanese Chicken Rice. Out of this world. Then again, you can’t really go wrong with scallions and ginger can you?

I am so happy I watch this video. This is so professional, beautifully filmed! Love this recipe of the sauce and I am going to make this and put it in my son’s fridge so that he will never go hungry.. (he is 23 year old singersongwriter staying on his own) hehe.. I voted for you and hope to vote for you again the next round… GOOD LUCK and thanks for this wonderful video! I am going watch it again!

Loved the video and the recipe. You have a very natural presence – unpretentious but extremely knowledgeable. Just the kind of “host” I like. I even forgave you the Canadian dissing and voted for you! Funny….I’ve never heard of such a day….must be those Canadians out west or out east as us Torontonians would never condone such a thing 😉


Haha! Thanks, Sandra. I’m really not one of those Americans who just rags on Canada all time time. Obviously the whole concept of the day is tongue in cheek, but it was such an easy joke to make. Thanks for being a sport and voting for me regardless. 🙂

voted. i’ve learned two things…how to peel ginger with a spoon. and… i need to move my knife-holding hand a bit closer to the blade…just cut some scallions yesterday, and the balance was much better. my next goal is to chop scallions a hundred miles an hour while not looking down at all and talking on the phone…as my mom does.

Learning that knife grip was life-changing. Gives you a lot more control in a lot of situations. My own mother does not use that grip or the claw, but she is still a beast in the kitchen!

THIS is totally what I’m looking for as I vote. If you’re not going to go funny in this challenge (one valid option), I feel like there has to be a really special quality about your video — the tone, your presence, etc. You totally captured it. The soundtrack was perfect, your videography and editing were perfect, and you picked a great subject matter. I’m a fan! You have a vote from me!

My entry combines stop-motion animation, makeshift music videos, some very off-key singing, my cheesy sense of humor, and enough tips and tricks to empower you to make over 27 different cheesecakes! Come see if you’d like 🙂

P.S. So nice to meet you at Foodbuzz this past weekend.

Ben I love this video – you and Erin did a great job! Also I confess I had no idea what a beautiful piece of ginger looked like until now. I need to make a ginger cheesecake and squeezing ginger juice from the sad ginger is, well, sad. The happy ginger gives up a lot more juice. (That sounds dirty and I absolutely did not mean it to….)
Beautiful work, mister. 🙂
P.S. Totally failed on the teflon tip you gave me and grated my knuckle AGAIN. Must remember words of wisdom.

Thanks. I know, your CCA training has probably made you too macho to use teflon gloves. But I bleed less. We need to get together with Mr Milkglass and Mrs Babychili sometime!

Absolutely! We must get together…babychili-friendly event like brunch maybe? also, it would be bad if those were mixed up– meaning Mr. Milkchili and Mrs. Babyglass.

Well I just got back from the supermarket, where all of the ginger was sad. I’ll have to try the natural foods coop. Loved the video! I read this entry the first time, and thought “I have to try that,” but I didn’t. Now I really, REALLY have to try it. It looks scrumptious.

~Daisy’s friend Elizabeth

It’s the right decision to hold out for good ginger. We have a fancy grocery in the neighborhood with extremely sad ginger. I’m not sure why they bother carrying it. Whole Foods was much better, but I usually end up buying from a Chinese market. Good luck!

This looks delicious… and super healthy too, raw ginger is very healthful addition to your diet and I am always interested in ways to incorporate it into mine, so thanks for the idea! I can’t wait to try it out. Your video was great too, great opening, great music, and I didn’t “fast forward” at all because you kept mentioning useful tips. I didn’t know you could peel ginger with a spoon.

Finally making my way through PFB videos and I absolutely love how you did yours. I’m new to your blog, but really looking forward to catching up on past posts. Good stuff indeed!

Great job Ben! I really love simple recipes – will try this one for sure! I often make cold sesame noodles with peanutbutter, rice wine vinegar, black sesame seeds and soy sauce-thrown over soba noodles with egg, carrots, and cucumber. I got this recipe when I worked at the Wild Lily tea room in nyc – she had some interesting recipes fusing west and east.

I think I already told you this, but this is one of my favourites, as are you. Fantastic video. Was actually talking about you last night to Momma Lee, re. awesomeness of video/you. See. I care so much I will talk about you IN REAL LIFE. Or else I’m a massive stalker.

Well done, good luck!

Jax x

Very professionally done video, and love the accompanying music.

Now I know how to hold on to a chef knife. 🙂

I missed the voting period b’cos I was bz, but will definitely wait and watch out for the next.

And congrats for making through this round. Good luck!

Just popping back to tell you, I visited the Asian grocery and snagged some nice scallions and ginger, plus some assorted noodles on which to try this out. And I’m not telling the boys in the neighborhood that I’m making it – I want more for me, me me! (Well, maybe I will tell them. I dig that they like this.)

I finally made Noodles with Scallion Sauce for Christmas Eve lunch and again last Sunday. Soooo good! I couldn’t find usukuchi sauce so I used regular soy sauce. Do you think usukuchi makes a big difference in flavor?

Kath, thanks so much for the mention on your website! Usukuchi is lighter and saltier than regular (koikuchi) soy sauce. My recommendation if you cannot find usukuchi is to substitute 2/3 of the volume (so 1 tsp in this case) with regular soy, perhaps adding a bit more salt to taste. The flavor will not be exactly the same, but the contribution is minor compared to the ginger and scallions. Chang’s recipe is an interpretation of a classic Chinese sauce, so I’m sure there are many variations that taste great!

Thanks so much for your reply, Ben! I’ll follow your recommendations next time…and it probably won’t be too long before I make it again!

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