This coconut-peanut sauce went amazingly with Vietnamese summer rolls, and it also worked well when tossed with cooked pasta and veggies. It makes about 2 cups. The recipe, from Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, suggests using a food processor. We don’t have one, so we just minced the ingredients. It makes it take longer, but it still tasted great.
3 hot fresh chiles, seeded, or cayenne to taste
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 shallots, peeled
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, thinly sliced (optional)
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tb peanut oil or a neutral-flavored oil like canola
1 cp coconut milk – if you want to make it lighter, you can use vegetable broth
1 tb brown sugar
2 tb soy sauce
2 tb freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cp chopped peanuts or crunchy peanut butter
1. Combine the chiles, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and turmeric in a food processor and grind until fairly smooth.
2. Put the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When hot, cook the chile-garlic mixture until fragrant, about a minute. Add everything else and whisk until smooth. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Taste for salt/soy sauce/lime juice. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to a week.