We decided to make a stir-fry with all those beautiful peppers that we’d picked up in our weekly CSA share so we could show off their colors. Now, Asian-style cooking is not one of our strong points, but it’s something that we should be working on to help keep us out of a cooking rut, so we figured that we’d put together a quick peanut sauce to mix in while cooking up the peppers (and other vegetables).
We quickly looked on the Internet and found that there are a blue-jillion recipes. Way too many, so we took a brief look at this one, noticed we didn’t have all the ingredients, so we headed on over to the Scratchin’ Central Library, where we found another for which we didn’t have all the ingredients, either. But, using the idea of the two, we came up with a third recipe, for which we did have the ingredients.
We avoid those peanut butters that have an ingredient list longer than: peanuts. Who needs sugars and sweeteners in peanut butter? But, if you use a national brand, we won’t see you, so we won’t say anything. Use limes, fresh limes. And, even though it might be a bit more trouble to zest them, the zest contains a huge amount of lime flavor — don’t pass up that flavor. For soy sauce, we used to buy one of the national brands, but then we looked at the ingredients and found that it contained mainly water, salt, and caramel coloring. That is, colored salty water! Forget that! We now use a brand that uses real fermented soy beans and it really does make a lot of difference.
Procedure in detail:
While this is a basic mix and use recipe, we’re going to show you an easy way to measure peanut butter, so you might want to read further.
Mince garlic. Since we use a microplane for zesting the limes, we made it do double duty and grated up the garlic, too. In a minute, finely minced garlic right into a medium-sized measuring cup (easy pour, and essential for our peanut butter measuring trick).
Zest and juice. Zest both limes as well as you can, then squeeze the juice. Put the zest and broth into that handy-dandy measuring cup, which will be key to making the next step easy.
Add peanut butter. Look at how full the measuring cup is: 1/3 of a cup. Use a tablespoon and add peanut butter, submerging it under the lime juice, until the level of the ingredients reaches 2/3 of a cup. That means you’ve added a 1/3 of a cup of peanut butter. While you might want to thank us for this idea, you should really thank Archimedes.
Add remaining ingredients. Now, add the remaining ingredients and whisk it together to make a sauce. It will be moderately thin, but remember that we’ll be coating vegetables with this sauce (it is for a stir-fry).
Store and use. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for a couple of hours, or until you make your stir-fry. To use, pour over the stir-fry ingredients about 5 minutes before they’re finished frying, and allow the sauce to come to a simmer, stirring constantly.
We originally made this with two limes, which made us feel as if we were in the British Navy, so we cut it back to one, but, other than that, this was a pretty good peanut sauce, although a full cup might be just a bit too much for a stir-fry for two. We’re sure that the sauce would stay good for about a week, giving you time to make up two stir-frys, if necessary. We think that it would also work pretty well with fettuccine (or more correctly, rice noodles) to make something akin to Pad Thai. The only thing that we wish we’d had on hand to add to the sauce would be whole peanuts, and perhaps a bit of finely minced ginger. But, as is, four stars.