Keep This Odd Sauce on Hand, Forget Boring Dinners

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Soy sauce, tahini, Chinkiang (Chinese black vinegar), sesame oil, sugar, salt, chopped scallion, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, and Sichuan peppercorns: What does this list of ingredients mean to you? If the answer is a recipe for Odd Flavor Sauce, then you're right! (And you should go on Jeopardy.)

This sauce has a nice little punch from chiles and peppercorns, acidity from vinegar, umami from soy sauce, and nuttiness from tahini and sesame oil. It’s got a lot going on—but it's just the right mix of flavors that it's incredibly versatile: Odd Flavor Sauce is ready to go on your roast chicken and perk up even the most humdrum of roasted vegetables, rice, and noodles.

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So, make a triple batch of this sauce at the beginning of the week...

...and, for dinner the first night, recreate the photo above: Roast chicken and make a double batch of rice (you'll see how you'll use up the extra below). Then, eat the rest of the sauce throughout the week to dip, dunk, coat, and drizzle.

A note on storage: It will keep in the fridge for two days. Pour however much sauce you think you're not going to use in that time into an ice cube tray (or two) and freeze. That way, you can just pop out and thaw (add the cubes to a bowl and leave at room temperature for about 30 minutes) however much odd flavor you want. It may separate when thawed, but this is nothing a little whisking won't fix.

For the next six days, turn the sauce into meals like this:

  • Soba noodles. Toss the sauce with cooked soba noodles and whatever else you like, such as roasted vegetables, sautéed mushrooms, pan-fried tofu, cooked shrimp, chopped cilantro, and thinly sliced scallions.

  • Pancakes, but not that kind of pancake. Make okonomiyaki—for the unfamiliar, this is large, savory, pan-fried pancake often peppered with cabbage, dashi, scallions, and tempura bits—and serve with Odd Flavor Sauce for dunking the wedges into.

  • Roasted vegetables. Roast any vegetables (potatoes, carrots, and/or Brussels sprouts would be particularly good) and toss or drizzle with some sauce. Top each serving with a fried egg, some chopped cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, and sliced scallions.

  • A salad with zip. A crunchy cabbage salad or slaw would hold up well to a super flavor dressing of Odd Flavor Sauce. If the dressing seems too think to you to dress a salad with, slowly add a bit more oil, whisking to combine. Just top with your protein of choice, like roasted chicken, pan-fried fish, or crispy tofu.

  • Fried rice. Remember that extra rice you made along with the roast chicken? Use it for fried rice. This recipe uses bacon and eggs. Just use some odd sauce in place of the soy sauce the recipe calls for—and add more to taste.

  • Cooked lettuce. (This is not a joke.) Use the Odd Flavor Sauce instead of the soy sauce mixture Grace Young's Stir-Fried Iceberg Lettuce's calls for. Eat with a side of (more) rice.

Tell us: How would you use Odd Flavor Sauce?

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • AntoniaJames
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I fall in love with every sandwich I ever meet.


AntoniaJames December 12, 2016
The ingredient list sort of reminds me of the old nautical saying: if you don't know what knot to tie, tie lots of them . . . . . ;o)
Edie C. December 12, 2016
This sounds delicious. Given the ingredients, though, I am wondering why it can't sit in the fridge longer than 2 days? Nothing in it is particularly "spoilable" ... is it to keep the flavor from concentrating too much?
Barb December 18, 2016
I thought the same, maybe the scallion/ginger/clove goes bad?