I have another recipe for you that uses peanuts. I have made it three times in as many weeks, and we put it on things like rice and noodle bowls and salads, and for the first time it was salad rolls. A recipe my friend gave me was inspiration, but I really wanted to make it as low calorie as possible. As a result I opted to make something with less sugar in it, and add lots of cilantro.
I’ve tried to recreate the magic from the first time I threw the ingredients together, and to be honest, it has been slightly different each time I make it. Try as I might, I loathe to follow a recipe – even my own. I am most happiest in the kitchen when I am just using what is on hand, adding what inspires me, and crossing my fingers it all goes well. Sometimes it doesn’t, but some times it really does. When it doesn’t, I keep adjusting things until I like it, and this is the way I have taught myself how to cook.
After I made this sauce I realized I had tasted something very similar a long time ago that was included in a cold noodle thai salad. I called the person who made it for me, and she is sending me the recipe. I want to know how closely what I made matches this recipe from the past. It’s amazing how taste and smell can take you back.
Trying to find the right balance of sweet, sour and spicy can be a challenge sometimes. I love Thai food, and dishes like Pad Thai are an example of how that balance can be interpreted differently from cook to cook. It’s something that tastes differently depending on the cook who made it or the restaurant you ordered it (Although, let me recommend the Pad Thai from Mango Thai on Davie Street in Vancouver). The ingredients you use to get that balance can vary greatly as well. We once purchased tamarind fruit to make our own tamarind sauce, which is an ingredient I prefer to use in Pad Thai that has a great tartness, but it’s also found in Worcestershire and HP sauce. Barbecue sauce is another example of finding the sweet spot with sour, sweet, and spicy.
I hope that you are able to find the sweet spot with this recipe. It’s meant to be a thin sauce, with a great amount of tart that brings out the cilantro. The peanut butter has sweetness, but you still need to add a little sugar to keep the tart from overwhelming.
Peanut Cilantro Dipping Sauce.
1/2 tsp- 1tsp Chilli Garlic sauce (Asian hot sauce) + 1/4 tsp chilli flakes (depend on how spicy you like it)
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder, or one minced clove of garlic
1 TBS gluten free soy sauce
2 TBS rice vinegar
Juice of one juicy lime
3 heaping tablespoons of peanut butter
1.5 tsp sugar (brown sugar and maple syrop work well too)
2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
-Blend all ingredients in a blender, with 1/2 cup of the water, reserving 1/4 cup. I’ve made this recipe a few times, and what always turns it from “not quite there” to “that’s good sauce” is the right amount of water.
-The sweetness will depend on your Peanut Butter. Also, if you use a sweetened hot sauce that might affect the balance as well
-The lime needs to be juicey. If you are using dry tired limes you won’t have enough tart to balance the sauce.
– So taste it, and try adding more of the water to take down some of the acidity if needed.
-I have only created this using Tamari’s gluten free soy sauce, which can taste quite different that other brands, like China Lily for example.