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Scallions become a savory sauce perfect for shrimp, steak or veggies in Vietnam
Milk Street Bowtie Vietnamese Scallion Sauce

Vietnamese Scallion Sauce

Appears in May-June 2020

20 minutes

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Vietnamese Scallion Sauce

Free

Vietnamese scallion oil, called mỡ hành, is used as a garnish or condiment on a number of different foods, from grilled clams on the half shell to steamed rice. It adds fresh allium notes as well as bright green color to any dish it’s drizzled onto. And since fat carries flavor, it also acts as a flavor booster. At its most basic, mỡ hành is made by pouring hot oil over sliced scallions to release their flavor and tenderize them. Our version includes savory fish sauce (or soy sauce), pungent ginger and a little sugar to build complexity. It’s delicious spooned onto simply cooked asparagus, shrimp or skirt steak (recipes below). Or try it on grilled pork chops, corn on the cob or steamed dumplings. Leftover scallion oil can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to threedays; return it to room temperature before serving.

½

Cup

Tip

Don’t just slice the scallions. For proper texture and flavor, the scallions should be chopped. Slice them first, then run the knife blade over them a few times to further break them down.

20 minutes

½ cup chopped scallions (5 or 6 scallions; see note)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup peanut or other neutral oil
1½ tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
1½ tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon white sugar
Ingredients
  • ½

    cup chopped scallions (5 or 6 scallions; see note)

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • ¼

    cup peanut or other neutral oil

  • tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce

  • tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

  • 1

    teaspoon white sugar

Directions
  1. 01
    In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the scallions, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Using your fingers, gently rub the salt and pepper into the scallions until the scallions begin to wilt.
    See Demo
    vietnamese-scallion-sauce-step-1
  2. 02
    In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering, then pour the hot oil over the scallions; the scallions will sizzle. Stir, then stir in the fish sauce, ginger and sugar. Cool to room temperature.
    See Demo
    vietnamese-scallion-sauce-step-2
  3. 03
    In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil until barely smoking. Add 1½ pounds asparagus (trimmed and halved on the diagonal) and cook, stirring only a few times, until charred. Add 3 tablespoons water, then immediately cover. Reduce to low and cook, stirring just once or twice, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with scallion oil spooned over.
  4. 04
    In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil until barely smoking. Add 1½ pounds extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp (peeled and deveined) in an even layer and cook without stirring until well brown, about 3 minutes. Stir the shrimp, then remove the pan from the heat and stir constantly, allowing the skillet’s residual heat to finish the cooking, until the shrimp are opaque throughout, another 20 to 30 seconds. Serve over steamed white rice and topped with scallion oil.
  5. 05
    In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil until barely smoking. Add 1 pound beef skirt steak (trimmed and cut into 3- to 4-inch sections) and cook, until well browned on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes total, flipping once about halfway through. Transfer to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut the steak against the grain into thin slices. Drizzle with scallion oil.
Tip: Don’t just slice the scallions. For proper texture and flavor, the scallions should be chopped. Slice them first, then run the knife blade over them a few times to further break them down.
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Reviews
Scott P.

This sauce is very flavorful and a cinch to make. I'm not sure why your recipe says 5 or 6 scallions will yield half a cup. My 5 average-sized ones easily made up a full cup, so I shrugged and happily doubled everything. I noticed that many mo hanh recipes on the Internet have neither ginger nor fish sauce---but it's precisely those two ingredients that make yours pop.

Lynn C.

Hi Scott -

We appreciate your go-with-the-flow attitude! Since scallions obviously vary greatly in size (some of the ones I've bought lately have been huge!), always best to go with your instinct. I love this sauce on everything and don't really think more scallions would ever be a problem!

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Diana L.

I made this tonight. It was delicious. I have cooked udon noodles then toss them with the sauce and shrimp. I will be making this again :)

Dr. Doris F.

This sauce is Crazy-Good and a cinch to make! I was out of white sugar, so I substituted natural brown cane sugar and it turned out beautifully. I spooned the sauce over a serving of scrumptious Indian Tomato Rice. (page 181 in The Milk Street Cookbook) The scallions from my garden were beginning to bolt and go to seed so I garnished my meal with the beautiful onion blossom...gee whiz what an amazing flavor bomb in my mouth. I love this scallion sauce! It has a surprisingly complex depth of flavor and is so yummy!

Bill O.

Delicious and so simple to make. Had it on cold, sliced flank steak

Kyt B.

Love this, served it overly shrimp, delicious, will use over steak next, lovely recipe


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Vietnamese Scallion Sauce

Get Ready to Cook

½

Cup

20 minutes

Tip

Don’t just slice the scallions. For proper texture and flavor, the scallions should be chopped. Slice them first, then run the knife blade over them a few times to further break them down.

Ingredients
  • ½

    cup chopped scallions (5 or 6 scallions; see note)

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • ¼

    cup peanut or other neutral oil

  • tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce

  • tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

  • 1

    teaspoon white sugar

Step 1 of 5

Season Scallions

½
cup chopped scallions (5 or 6 scallions)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the scallions, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Using your fingers, gently rub the salt and pepper into the scallions until the scallions begin to wilt.

Step 2 of 5

Combine Ingredients In Saucepan

¼
cup peanut or other neutral oil
tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
1
teaspoon white sugar

In a small saucepan over medium-high, heat the oil until shimmering, then pour the hot oil over the scallions; the scallions will sizzle. Stir, then stir in the fish sauce, ginger and sugar. Cool to room temperature.

Step 3 of 5

Seared and Steamed Asparagus Variation

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil until barely smoking. Add 1½ pounds asparagus (trimmed and halved on the diagonal) and cook, stirring only a few times, until charred.


Add 3 tablespoons water, then immediately cover. Reduce to low and cook, stirring just once or twice, until the asparagus is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with scallion oil spooned over.

Step 4 of 5

Pan-Seared Shrimp Variation

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil until barely smoking. Add 1½ pounds extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp (peeled and deveined) in an even layer and cook without stirring until well brown, about 3 minutes.


Stir the shrimp, then remove the pan from the heat and stir constantly, allowing the skillet’s residual heat to finish the cooking, until the shrimp are opaque throughout, another 20 to 30 seconds. Serve over steamed white rice and topped with scallion oil.

Step 5 of 5

Pan-Seared Skirt Steak Variation

In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon neutral oil until barely smoking.


Add 1 pound beef skirt steak (trimmed and cut into 3- to 4-inch sections) and cook, until well browned on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes total, flipping once about halfway through.


Transfer to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes. Cut the steak against the grain into thin slices. Drizzle with scallion oil.

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