There are two methods to making peanut sauce: the traditional way, and the peanut butter way. On a Wednesday night at 7 p.m., the peanut butter method will usually win. Not to say it isn’t a good way; it’s still more DIY than buying peanut sauce, and it tastes better, too. One day, though, I will tackle peanut sauce made from peanuts.
I prefer to do things from scratch when I can. It’s usually healthier, probably tastier and gives me a much bigger sense of accomplishment. Sometimes I do it in stages (like with peanut sauce); it’s a good way to learn the basics about a complex thing without spending a lot of time processing peanuts, for example.
This is a veggie stir-fry, as my dining companion for the evening doesn’t eat meat. In the past, I’ve done this with both chicken and pork, which, when cut into strips about 1/3 of an inch thick and 1.5 inches long, requires about as much time as the peppers. (That is to say, put them in at the same time.) We were both happy with the veggie version, though I do understand that this might be considered an abomination to some. (Veggies need love too!)
The nice thing about stir-frys, besides that they’re one-pot meals, is that there is a lot of potential variety. I went with veggies that you’re more likely to find in (westernized?) Thai food, but luckily, I had enough time and foresight to shop with this in mind. Usually when I’m making a stir-fry, it’s from whatever I have hanging around in the fridge.
Peanut sauce is pretty amazing, and is pretty high on my list of sauces that are clean-the-plate delicious. There’s never any left when I make it, but you can use it on sandwiches, with plain noodles or as a marinade.
On an unrelated note, I think I need to sort out the lighting when I’m cooking-for-blog. I definitely took these pics after sundown, and the lighting in my kitchen just doesn’t seem to be cutting it. I wonder if it’s time for some new toys…
On the Counter:
for the peanut sauce:
1/4 cup natural chunky peanut butter
2 tsp (12 ml)soy sauce
1 tbsp (18 ml) brown sugar (leave this out if your PB is sweetened)
1 tbsp (18 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (125 ml) water (for a thicker, more indulgent sauce, use 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup water)
1 clove garlic, crushed
for the stir-fry:
240g (1/2 lb) whole wheat medium-thickness noodles
150g (1.5 cups) sugar snap peas, cut into halves
100g (1 cup) baby corn, cut into in halves
1 to 1.5 bell peppers, seeded and diced (2 colors better than 1!)
100g (1 cup) quartered mushrooms (I prefer baby bella or chestnut)
1 fresh red chili, chopped
optional: 300g (1/2 lb) lean pork or chicken breast, sliced into 1/3in x 1.5in strips
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp (36 ml) sesame oil
What to Do:
In a saucepan, put all peanut sauce ingredients (minus crushed peanuts).
Heat the mixture on low, stirring frequently, until the peanut butter melts and all the ingredients combine.
Put the sauce aside.
It’s better if you let this sauce sit and thicken a bit. The amount of time it takes to stir-fry is enough.
In a wok or skillet, heat sesame oil on medium until it shimmers. Add peppers, meat, then garlic.
Cook (stirring frequently, or tossing if you’re skilled like that) for 2-3 minutes, or until peppers are slightly soft.
Meanwhile, boil a saucepan of water and add your noodles, cooking according to package – usually 2-3 minutes.
Add in peas and baby corn, and keep stirring, cooking for another 3 minutes.
Add in chopped chili and mushrooms, cook for 1 minute and then add in 1/2 the peanut sauce. Toss/stir to combine.
Add your cooked noodles to the stir-fry, cover with the remaining peanut sauce and combine well. Sprinkle crushed peanuts on top and…
I looove baby corn, so I take advantage of any excuse to use it in a meal. I’ve even been known to throw some in with broccoli while it’s steaming, just to snack on. Do you have any preferred stir-fry ingredients or methods?