Easier Than I Thought

Something about the way peanut sauce tastes has always made me think it would be complicated to create at home.  It’s something that I love at restaurants but never venture to try on my own.  That changed tonight when I was determined to make something somewhat homemade to go with our favorite Trader Joe’s shrimp & veggie potstickers (if you haven’t tried them you should).

Luckily I had a recent Cooking Light magazine on hand with an inspiring ‘Indonesian Peanut Dressing.’  Does anyone else love checking out magazines from the library?

Their recipe called for a pretty simple list of ingredients, but based on the flavors we like and what I could find, I switched things up a little.  It is tempting to read a recipe in a magazine, cookbook or on a blog and rule it out because you don’t have the exact ingredients on hand (and no desire to go out and buy an entire jar/bottle/bag of something that you might never use again).  I try to find the key flavors and then substitute accordingly.

So, for example, here is the ingredient list from Cooking Light’s recipe, followed by the flavor and my substitution.

  • peanut butter (nutty, smooth flavor) –> almond butter
  • hot water –> hot water / no substitute needed
  • fresh lime juice (citrus, acidic) –> fresh lemon juice
  • soy sauce (salty) –> soy sauce / no substitute needed because we had this on hand
  • brown sugar (sweet) –> honey
  • thai red curry paste (spicy) –> hot pepper jelly & hot sauce

I was skeptical of all these flavors and textures mixing together, but I put in a bit of each, tasted as I whisked, and was pleasantly surprised!

This ended up being the perfect sauce for our potstickers and dressing for our salad.  I loved the combination of rich, salty, sweet, acidic and spicy flavors.  It would be awesome on grilled veggie kabobs.

If there is a recipe that seems intimidating to you, I challenge you to break it down to flavors, make some simple substitutions, and give it a shot!

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2 thoughts on “Easier Than I Thought

  1. Sounds yummy, as usual! Could you concoct an easy to whip up at home marinade for tofu or seitan that the boys might like? I think they would like tofu (good texture, etc) if I could just marinate and cook it right…?

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