I love peanut butter! I grew up on the real deal in Africa, where the women make the best peanut butter you ever ate! And now that I’ve learned to make my own here in Europe–where it’s hard to find, expensive, and usually has lots of additives–I was intrigued by several recipes I found recently for Spicy Peanut Sauce.  The tartness of the vinegar, along with the saltiness of the soy sauce and the creaminess of the peanut butter make for a great combination, in my book! It can be used in a myriad of ways…and just to whet your imagination, here are three tasty ways I’ve served it…

ChickenNoodlesCloseCornerTeal

Chicken and Rice Noodle Stir Fry

SaladPnutSauce

Spring Roll Salad with Quinoa, Mint and Basil

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All-in-One Vegan Dish with Sweet Potatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a meat-lover or vegan. But we start with the Spicy Peanut Sauce…and here’s my version for this versatile sauce:

Spicy Peanut Sauce

Yield: A little more than 1 cup

Spicy Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 medium clove of garlic
  • 1/2 T. fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/2 C. (125 ml) creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 C. (60 ml) rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
  • 1/4 C. (60 ml) soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 T. molassas or brown rice syrup
  • 1 small hot pepper, or a pinch of cayenne, if desired

Instructions

  1. Put the garlic and fresh ginger in a blender and process them first. I find this insures these strong ingredients are mixed in well.
  2. Now add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth and creamy. If it seems too thick or, if after tasting you find it's a bit too tart for your liking, add a little water to thin it down.
  3. This mixture can be stored in a glass jar for several weeks. I keep mine in the fridge, though it would probably be fine on a cabinet shelf.
  4. Mixture can be added to a stir fry, a salad, or almost any combination of tasty foods.
http://ciaofromdebbie.com/recipes/spicy-peanut-sauce-three-ways/

The first time I made this Spicy Peanut Sauce, I sauteed some fresh spinach, added some cooked quinoa, cannellini beans and roasted sweet potatoes…

IngredientsInPan

…drizzled some peanut sauce over the top…

CombineIngredientsAddSauce

…and mixed it all together…

VeganPnutSauce

If you want, you can use brown rice or barley or almost any whole grain instead of the quinoa. Instead of cannellini beans, you could substitute chickpeas or soy beans. And once I parboiled some kale to use in place of the spinach.

This isn’t the kind of recipe that I use specific amounts but is just made “to taste”. Most often I’m using up some leftovers when I made this dish. You know how it goes, you’ve got a little quinoa in the fridge. You open a can of chickpeas or whatever you have on hand. Roast up a couple of sweet potatoes…and it’s ready to go.

For my next adventure using this Spicy Peanut Sauce, I made a salad. I love the fresh taste of Spring Rolls–not the fried ones, but the ones wrapped in rice paper wrappers. (By the way, there’s a terrific recipe for them on page 28 of Around Our Table.) But I’ll admit, they’re quite a lot of work to make, so I don’t make them often. However, the flavors of the Spicy Peanut Sauce reminded me of the Peanut Sauce you dip the Spring Rolls in, so I decided to combine the ingredients of the Spring Rolls into a salad and thinned down the Peanut Sauce with a little water to use as a dressing. Yum! Yum! Yum! I’ll be making this again!

SaladPnutSauce

The main ingredients are:

  • fresh basil leaves, finely sliced
  • fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
  • grated carrot
  • cooked quinoa–instead of rice noodles in the Spring Rolls
  • lettuce leaves
  • medium cooked shrimp, cleaned and deveined (I didn’t put these in the salad, though they would be great in it, and would make it more of a “main dish”)

Just before serving, drizzle the thinned Peanut Sauce over all of the ingredients and toss to mix. Again, I’m not giving amounts of each ingredient because it’s so flexible. I do want to say, however, that the fresh basil and mint are crucial when making this. Somehow dried basil and mint just don’t cut it here!

Lastly, I made a Chicken Stir Fry dish using the Peanut Sauce, for those of you who are meat-eaters.

I sprinkled some soy sauce and garlic over my diced meat–you could use pork, beef, shrimp, or chicken–and then stir fried it in a little oil over a high flame just until seared all over…

SauteChicken

I transferred the chicken to a bowl, added a little more oil and sauteed some sliced bell peppers…

SautePepper

When they were crisp-tender, I added them to the chicken already in the bowl, wiped out the pan–which by now was getting pretty ugly with the color from the soy sauce, etc.–and sauteed a little broccoli. I learned a trick from Real Simple (the Magazine) years ago to add just a few tablespoons of water and steam veggies like broccoli and cauliflower, when making a stir fry. Just until they’re barely tender…

SauteSteamBroccoli

You might prefer to just stir fry, but I find that little bit of steam makes it even tastier–and these tougher veggies aren’t so hard. (BTW, I love this universal pan lid–fits on almost every pan I have in my kitchen! Check My Favorite Kitchen Things for how to order one for yourself.)

Now I added the chicken and bell peppers back into the pan to heat it all through…added some rice noodles, which had to cook only about four minutes, and some of the Spicy Peanut Sauce. As I often do with a pasta dish, I added a little of the water the noodles were cooked in. This helps to thin the sauce so it all combines better and won’t be all stuck together and dried out. And here’s the final result…

ChickenNoodlesTeal

As I said earlier, you can use any kind of meat–pork, beef, chicken, shrimp–and likewise, whatever 2-3 veggies you have such as celery, onion, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, edamame beans…  You can serve this over brown rice, white rice, or use soy noodles or rice noodles. The sky’s the limit.

So just make yourself up a batch of Spicy Peanut Sauce…and let your imagination go wild!

Enjoy!

Debbie

3 Comments

  1. 2-19-2013

    Yes I am! Just saw you on FB and hit the link and have been enjoying reading and learning from your recipes! Thanks for sharing, Debbie.
    Mg

    • 2-19-2013

      Great to have you “in my kitchen”, Margaret!

  2. 2-23-2013

    Looks delicious!

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