Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peanut Sauce with Cilantro

There are lots of recipes for peanut sauces. This one uses cilantro to add an extra fresh taste that goes well with cooked poultry, noodles, salads and cold vegetables. Use only fresh, not dried, cilantro for this sauce. Any peanut butter is okay but the sauce is really best with an all-natural one (nothing but roasted peanuts and salt, no emulsifiers). I’ve made it both ways and there is a difference. Chinese chili paste can be found in most Asian markets with and without garlic (your choice). In a pinch use fresh or dried hot chilis (like serranos) or your favorite hot sauce.

1/4 cup natural peanut butter, smooth
1T soy sauce
1/2 t Chinese chili paste
2 t dark brown sugar
juice of 1/2 lime
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped (skip if only dried is available)
1/4 cup + hot water
1 T chopped dry roasted peanuts for garnish

Combine all ingredients except water and chopped peanuts in a small processor and pulse to combine. Add most of the water and process to a smooth sauce. Taste and add more water, lime juice or soy sauce to taste. Pour into a small bowl for dipping, garnish with chopped peanuts or pour over roasted or grilled chicken.

Sauce can be made by hand: use a fork or small whisk to incorporate peanut butter into other ingredients.

Great on chicken, cold noodles (with slivered cucumbers, scallions and carrots), vegetables (hot or cold) or as a dip for just about anything.