A few days ago, 'round about Friday, I developed a craving for peanut sauce, the Thai or modified Thai kind. Don't ask me why. Some people have pregnancy cravings; this must have been a perimenopausal craving. At least it was healthy. And I figured I probably had all the ingredients at home already. I'm one of those people who keep fresh ginger in the house.
Too lazy to go poking through my three shelves of cookbooks (which I rarely use and mostly read for pleasure and inspiration) and not in possession of a Thai cookbook (I generally entrust Thai cooking to restaurants and to my friends who took cooking classes during their trip to Thailand), I went on the Web and found this. Easy. Here it is:
1/3 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
1/2 cup water
2 T soy sauce
1 T lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 t grated ginger
1/4 t red pepper flakes (more or less, accoording to taste)
That's it. I didn't even mince the garlic, I just threw all the ingredients into my cheap supermarket food processor and voilà. Toss this with Thai rice noodles and/or tofu cubes, add a little parsley or fresh cilantro for color and vitamins, and there's your meal. I had consumed some raw and crunchy things earlier, but you can also put your veggies in there. I expect you can serve this with all manner of meat and marinate things in it and so forth, but I am a busy woman and I was hungry. I did have to grate the ginger, but it smells good and I only grated a tiny bit of the tip of my finger.
Of course, this will not work for you if you are allergic to peanuts.
I recommend making a double recipe right away. Then you can keep it in the fridge for the next night you come home tired from work and want something with protein and taste and zing. Also, if you've tossed whatever you've tossed into it and refriegerate it, it's good as a leftover and the flavors sit well with each other.
This will work either hot or cold. I've had it both ways. (Cue the Joni Mitchell "Both Sides Now" and change the words to foodie ones.)
I've made this twice (yes, in three days -- so sue me) and I modified it the second time because I didn't like the idea of so much soy sauce. I don't have high blood pressure or any problems with salt (except for the fact that having a salty meal at night gives one puffy eyes in the morning) but, as several of our mothers would say, why tempt the devil. So the second time around I halved the amount of soy sauce, added a little extra of the peanut butter (I use the organic crunchy kind, but I am a food snob and even my local supermarket now carries it and it's not expensive) and it worked just fine. I think I was a little under the required dose of ginger, but let me tell you, hand-grating two full teaspoons of ginger (or four if you are doubling the recipe) is an awful lot of ginger and an awful lot of grating. And fresh ginger goes a long way, so you can cheat a little. Bottled lime juice will work if you don't have fresh limes. As for the red pepper flakes, I used the recommended amount plus a few flakes and it had the right amount of zing. Don't use too much more or it will overwhelm the other tastes.
I usually eat a more Mediterranean than Asian diet (there is always, always olive oil in the house) but this was very nice, and may make it into some kind of regular rotation here.
The cat liked the activity but was supremely uninterested in the food. So that's another advantage: your cat won't eat it. Probably your dog won't either. Garlic and ginger are generally not a dog thing.