Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lime and Coconut Peanut Sauce

Makes 2 1/2 cups

I did some research on how to make a peanut sauce and I really didn't know where to start. I did see several recipes for peanut sauces. Some called for peanut butter, and some for peanuts. Most of them called for coconut milk. I also saw some that substituted vegetable broth for the coconut milk to make it lighter.

I never buy or cook with coconut milk, and I thought this was good time to go with it. I also learned that coconut milk and oil are really good and healthy for you. Many people avoid it because of its fat content, but it shouldn't be avoided. I would just recommend using it in moderation just like everything else.

Since I liked the Sesame-Soy sauce so much, I decided to consult the same cookbook: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I did make my own version of this peanut sauce, but I couldn't have gotten started without the Peanut Sauce recipe in Mark Bittman's cookbook.

3 Garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped or pureed
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped

For taste and garnish:
a pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cilantro
1/2 tablespoon sliced scallion

Puree the yellow onion in a food processor until smooth. A few lumps are okay, but try to get as smooth as possible. In a skillet set the peanut oil to medium heat and saute the sliced garlic for about a minute to release some of the flavor and aroma. Just saute until the garlic turns a light brown color. You don't want to burn or scorch it.

Pour in the onions and cook for about one minute.

Add the milk, brown sugar, peanuts, lime juice, and soy sauce, and stir until smooth with a few peanut chunks. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle some red pepper flakes, cilantro, and scallions on the sauce for garnish and presentation.

Serve immediately over a a noodle bowl or stir fry, or chill and serve cold as a dipping sauce for summer rolls or polenta.

Delights and After Thoughts:
I originally made a peanut sauce for my sesame-tofu summer roll recipe. I was a little skeptical about this sauce at first because it didn't look like the usual peanut sauce that I get when I order summer rolls. But, after I cooked it and tasted it, I fell in love. I just wanted to eat the sauce alone, and then my mind started to wander about what else I could make with this sauce. I had a bunch left over after the summer rolls, so I used it on a noodle bowl. It would also be great in a stir fry, or as a dipping sauce for polenta or bread.

I got such excellent feedback from this sauce that I think I am going to use it, or modify it for many different recipes. You might actually taste this sauce, and just want to eat it for dessert, so don't be surprised if you eat it all in one sitting. Plus, it looks so pretty topped with red pepper flakes, cilantro, and scallions. I'm getting pretty good at presentation, don't ya think?

1 comment:

Beth said...

I knew your Zine days would come in handy someday!!!