The Recipe: Peanut Sauce
From How to Cook Everything (10th Anniversary Edition) by Mark Bittman
He has a few different variations. Here are two - I went with the simple one, as we didn't have too many of the other ingredients in the house. But thought you might like to see the fancier one anyway, as it looks more zingy.
For the simple version:
- 3 small dried red chiles (like Thai or piquin), seeded, or cayenne, or hot red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1 tbspn brown sugar
- 2 tbspns soy sauce, or more to taste
- 0.5 cup chopped roasted peanuts or crunchy peanut butter [ours was smooth, oh well]
- 0.25 cup sliced scallion [we didn't have any - the cupboard was pretty bare]
- 0.25 cup minced fresh cilantro
For the fancier one - as above, minus the scallion or cilantro, and plus:
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 shallots, peeled
- 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, peeled, trimmed, and thinly sliced (optional)
- 2 tspns ground turmeric
- 1 tbspn peanut oil or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tbspns freshly squeezed lime juice
Instructions - Simple:
1) Put the chiles, sugar, soy sauce, and peanut into the food processor to blend, adding a little water or more soy sauce to get the consistency you like. [I skipped this step, and just mixed them in the saucepan.]
2) Then gently heat the sauce in a small saucepan over a low heat, or in the microwave. Finish with a quarter cup each of sliced scallion and minced fresh cilantro.
Instructions - Fancy:
1) Combine the chiles, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and turmeric in a food processor and grind until fairly smooth; scrape down sides of machine as necessary.
2) Put the oil in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the chile-garlic mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 15 mins.
3) Taste, and add a sprinkle of salt or a little soy sauce if necessary. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a week (warm gently over a very low heat or in microwave before using).
Forgot to add the cilantro to the sauce, after all that. And we didn't have scallion. So threw in some lime juice, but it was still missing a little something (the cilantro and scallion, probably!)
Will try the fancy version another time.
But it was fun to pull a very edible meal together from a random selection of ingredients.
Only one - the sun came out for a nanosecond just in time.