Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Peanut Sauce over Spinach & Rice

One highly-recommended recipe from my friend's Moosewood Cookbook is an Indonesian dish called Gado Gado.  It looks pretty amazing -- peanut sauce drizzled over vegetables, rice, and a whole host of other possible ingredients.  While I had all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce, I did not have the ingredients OR the willpower to make the entire recipe.  So I opted to seriously chop the recipe and hope for the best.  While I decided to add garlic and learned in the middle of cooking that I didn't have the lemon juice required for the recipe, the peanut sauce still turned out beautifully!  

Along with the sauce, I had some bright, fresh spinach from the farmer's market that I chopped up and some leftover rice from dinner last night.  I covered that mix with some of this delicious peanut sauce and let me tell you...it was heaven.  While the entire recipe for Gado Gado is still on my to-do list, I'm pretty excited about this peanut sauce!  I could eat it with a spoon..... 

This recipe will make enough for two generous servings of peanut sauce.

1/2 tbls peanut oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 tbls freshly grated ginger
2 cloves chopped or grated garlic
2/3 cup good peanut butter (either smooth or chunky should work)
2/3 cup hot water
1 tbls cider vinegar (I used apple cider...no big deal)
1 tbls soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt (careful...if your peanut butter is salted, you might not need this extra salt)
1/2 tbls brown sugar or honey
1 tbls lemon juice (which I didn't have...still worked great)
Sriracha to taste (optional, for an extra kick)

Heat the peanut oil in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, and saute oer medium-low heat until the onions are very soft (about ten minutes).

Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.  Simmer over very low heat for about 15 minutes.  (Oh hilarious.  I just now saw this "simmer for 15 minutes" instruction.  Didn't do that!*)  Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. 

Serve this sauce over rice, noodles, with tofu or your protein of choice.  Add some veggies or sprouts.  Or serve over some fresh spinach.  You can pretty much use it for anything and it's even thick enough to use as a veggie dip.  Delish! 

*Food Tip: This recipe just highlights how forgiving cooking can really be.  More often than not, if you miss a step, omit an ingredient, or even overcook your food, you'll still end up with something pretty good!  My friends and I used to get together and cook a new recipe once a week.  I cannot tell you how many times we ended up with a great meal only to find out later that we'd messed something up along the way.  Some parts of a recipe are non-negotiable, but cooking more so than baking has a lot of wiggle room.  Don't be afraid of cooking!  If you screw up, it's just a sign of creative genius!

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