Thursday, May 10, 2012

Grain-Free Goodness: Thai Red Curry Sweet Peanut Sauce

Again with the Thai. I know, I know, but it really comes down to a simple equation: coconut milk + curry + vegetables = happy me. When you add peanut butter into that equation, well, it just takes me into really happy territory. Let's get started, shall we?

Your sweet peanut sauce-making friends, clockwise from upper left: olive oil, fish sauce, honey, thai red curry paste, peanut butter, peanuts, basil, lime zest, ginger & garlic.

This curry starts much like the other. Toast the curry paste in a little oil, add coconut milk and simmer. Add meat (thinly sliced raw chicken or beef). To complete the sauce, the original recipe calls for all peanuts but I think it's easier (on the palate and on my belly) to use peanut butter. Balance out those flavors with sweet (honey), salty (fish sauce) and sour (lime zest and juice) and you've got a delicious meal.

Thai Red Curry Sweet Peanut Sauce
Adapted from an old, uncredited authentic Thai recipe given to me by a college professor
Serves 4-5

1 lb. beef or chicken, cut into very thin slices
1 TBS olive oil
3 TBS red curry paste
1-inch piece of garlic, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 cups (or one can) coconut milk
3 TBS honey
3 TBS fish sauce
zest and juice of one lime
1/2 cup minus 2 TBS natural creamy peanut butter
2 TBS finely chopped roasted peanuts
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped

For the sauce:
Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. When warm, drop in curry paste, ginger and garlic and toast, stirring frequently, for 1-2 minutes. Add coconut milk and simmer 5 minutes more.

Stir in honey, fish sauce, and lime zest, lime juice, peanut butter and peanuts. Stir well.

Put in beef or chicken strips and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Stir in basil and remove from heat.

To serve:
This is delicious on a bed of white or brown rice. Grain-free folks can peel a few carrots and steam some broccoli and pour the sauce over the top. Any way you serve it, this sauce is a winner.

*Note: the sauce thickens up A LOT in the fridge. Don't be scared (there's a lot of coconut and peanut butter fat in that sauce): things will loosen up when it is reheated. You can also add chicken stock to make it less thick, if you're still scared.


You could also use this as a dipping (or satay) sauce for vegetables or skewered chicken for a fancy appetizer. Instead of adding protein, just make the sauce. Serve it in a bowl alongside grilled chicken skewers and chopped raw vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, celery, asparagus and bell peppers.

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