Makes about 1/2 cup
3 T soy sauce
2 T tahini or almond or peanut butter
1 T Chinkiang vinegar (preferable!) or red-wine vinegar
1 T sesame oil
2 t sugar
1/4 t kosher salt
3 T neutral oil
1 small scallion, finely chopped (about 1 T)
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped (about 1 t)
1/2 t chili flakes (or more to taste)
1/2 t crushed Sichuan peppercorns
Combine the soy sauce, tahini, vinegar, sesame oil, sugar, and salt in a small heatproof bowl and mix until the sugar is dissolved and the tahini is well incorporated. (It might not be perfectly dissolved. That’s okay.)
In a small skillet over medium heat, add the neutral oil, swirl, and heat until shimmering. Toss in the scallion, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, and crushed peppercorns. Remove from the heat and stir for 10 seconds, until the scallion is bright green and the mixture is very aromatic. Pour the contents of the pan into the liquid seasonings, whisking until well blended. Once cool, this sauce will keep in the fridge for a day or two.
Good with any warm white proteins—your chicken, fish, pork, and tofu—and can generally bring life to any bland food straight out of the fridge. Salt-and-pepper one of those proteins and heat through until it’s cooked (in a pan, in the toaster oven, whatever), slice it up, douse it in the Odd Flavor, and (with a little rice) dinner is done.