The New Home Economics

Recipe: three great peanut sauces

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What can you use peanut sauce on?  Anything really.  Dip spring rolls or egg rolls in it.  Stir it into some stir-fry.  Spread it on your sandwiches.  Dip fresh vegetables in it.  Pour it over rice noodles for Asian spaghetti. (Can you tell we’ve got toddlers?)  Natural, unsweetened peanut butter works best for all three (with or without salt is fine).

Recipe #1: savory, thick peanut sauce
2 scallions, finely chopped (or about 1/4 of an onion)
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
Generous pinch of chili powder
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 T. white vinegar
2 T. soy sauce
3 T. peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)

Mix ingredients together with a fork and let sit at room temperature for a good 30 minutes.  This one is really thick and works great as a dip.  This is from Christine Ingram’s vegetarian and vegetable cooking.

Recipe #2: BBQ peanut sauce
2 T. rice vinegar or white vinegar
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 T. peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
3 T. BBQ sauce

Combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a pan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and add peanut butter, chili flakes, and BBQ sauce.  This one is also very thick and good as a dip, or spread onto meat on the grill.  This is from 1000 vegetarian recipes from around the world.

Recipe #3: Real Thai peanut curry sauce
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut milk
2 T. red curry paste (or less if you’re wimpy)
3/4 c. stock (vegetable or chicken)
2 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. peanut butter or roasted peanuts chopped very fine
2 T. lemon or lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt

Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Simmer, stirring now and then, until it releases a sweet fragrance and thickens a bit, about 5 min.  Add the curry paste and cook 3-4 min. longer, being sure to mix well.  Add the stock and sugar, continue to simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the peanuts or peanut butter and cook for about 3 more minutes, or until the peanut butter is all melted and incorporated.  Remove from heat, add lemon juice,  and salt & pepper to taste.  Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.  It gets rather thick and gelatinous in the refrigerator, so you might want to thin it with a little stock if you re-heat.

I like all three of these sauces, but the 3rd one tastes the most like peanut sauces that I’ve had at Thai restaurants.  It is relatively thin, so it would be good to pour over vegetables and rice, so the rice can soak it up.  It is much sweeter than the previous two.  This recipe is from the very useful Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott.

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