Friday, August 12, 2011

Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce with Shrimp and Stirfry

This was requested by a lovely reader that I call a friend and I have been remiss in getting around to making it happen. Yet, I found the time this week and I must say, I did a hell of a job making this dream come true! (Even if saying it was her dream is hyperbole, let me bask in the glow of satisfying a request, ok?)

So I made a homemade Thai peanut sauce and while there are hundreds of recipes out there, this is the one I use, which is a tweaked combination of two recipes and, in my humble opinion, is amazing without being complicated.

For starters, start your rice as it will take the longest. If you are besmirching this sauce and using microwave rice, which is ok (not really), ignore this and start the sauce first. For real rice, start the sauce when the rice is about 3/4 way done.


Now, in a sauce pan (mine is pictured above since I feel you all might be confused but what I refer to as my sauce pan...) over medium heat you want to pour 2 tbsp of sesame oil, crushed ginger (about 2 tsps) and then about 1/2 cup of peanut butter. I use chunky peanut butter, and I suppose you could use creamy, but trust me it loses something in comparison. Anyway, let it cook until the peanut butter starts to melt and thin out a little. Then turn down the heat to low and stir in 1 tbsp soy sauce and 2 tsps of wasabi paste (it comes in a tube in the 'international aisle' at the grocery; store it in the fridge, it is terribly useful!) and let it all cook together, while stirring frequently. Now, as always with my cooking, you'll need to taste and see if it needs more wasabi or more peanut butter and then add accordingly. After it is more liquid, remove from heat.

Meanwhile, as the sauce is simmering, heat up your wok to high heat (um, don't have a wok? $10 at Ikea, go for it) and drizzle it with some more sesame oil and a little soy sauce. Then add in 3 cloves of crushed garlic and let it all start to smoke just a little. Then add in the shrimp (if you are using chicken, add this in first and let it cook longer before the veggies since it will take longer) and veggies. Admittedly, I used frozen veggies for the ease of it...Trader Joe's makes a fine oriental blend that works for me. But if you are more energetic, I'd suggest chopping broccoli, carrots and adding in some onion, string beans and water chestnuts.

After the shrimp (or chicken) and veggies are looking a little more cooked/defrosted, dump in the peanut sauce and let it all marry together in a joyous thick clump of rich goodness. Once everything is coated with the sauce and you've let it cook for about five minutes together in the wok, serve it up. I used brown, sticky jasmine rice.


In order to up the heat for myself, I sprinkled the finished plate with some crushed red pepper, which does the trick if you're into that sort of thing.

- Melissa

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