Before relocating to the East Coast with the wunderhusband and daughter, and in anticipation of a long, cabin-fever-inducing winter, I wrote up a list of culinary goals to achieve, in hopes of keeping myself productive and happily occupied during said winter.
Today, I achieved one of those goals: namely, be able to reliably produce an AMAZING peanut sauce that is as delicious as the Thai peanut dipping sauce we get with our summer rolls at our favorite Thai restaurant.
Discovering this recipe could not have been more unexpected. For one thing, I was browsing a 1977 edition of the Moosewood Cookbook that my mom picked up at a thrift store for $1 and gave to me. Secondly, the recipe is titled “Gado-Gado: an Indonesian dish with spicy peanut sauce”. It looked delicious, but never in a million years would I have thought that these ingredients would taste SO great in combination AND that they’d come so close to duplicating our favorite Thai peanut dipping sauce.
I looked for this recipe online (via a brief google search), and there seem to be some major variations on it in later editions of the Moosewood Cookbook. I couldn’t find this exact version on line, so here it is, reproduced verbatim for anyone who’s craving an AMAZING peanut sauce.
From the 1977 edition of the Moosewood Cookbook,
Approximately 1 hr, start to finish. Makes 6-8 servings
- 1 cup chopped onion [I used a large red onion]
- 2 medium cloves crushed garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1 cup good, pure peanut butter
- 1 Tbs honey [I didn’t have any and subbed maple syrup. I’m pretty sure that brown sugar would work too]
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more, to taste)
- juice of 1 lemon [I used bottled juice]
- 1 Tbs cider vinegar
- 3 cups water
1/2-1 tsp salt
- dash of tamari [I used low sodium soy sauce]
- 2 Tbs butter for frying
In a saucepan, cook the onions, garlic, bay leaf, and ginger in butter, lightly salted. When onion becomes translucent, add remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Simmer on lowest possible heat 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. [Notes: I cheated and just roughly chopped my onion, garlic, and ginger instead of dicing and crushing. My onion pieces took a long time to become translucent, leading to my garlic and ginger becoming browned and toasty. This was not a bad thing.
Once it finished cooking, I removed the bay leaf and blended the sauce in my Vitamix for about 30 seconds so that everything became an even consistency with no large pieces of onion and ginger marring the texture. This REALLY helped even out the texture, and I’d highly recommend adding this step, even though it’s not in the original recipe.
DON’T skimp on the simmering time. It allows the sauce to reduce down a bit and does something quite magical with all the flavors.
I also used freshly made-from-my-Vitamix peanut butter. I’d definitely recommend using an all-natural, peanuts-only, creamy peanut butter for this recipe.
If I were using this as a dipping sauce instead of pouring it over veggies, I’d add a bit of thickener like organic corn starch to make it more conducive to staying on the summer rolls]
Underneath the sauce:
The sauce goes over an artful arrangement of combined cooked and raw vegetables. Extra protein comes from garnishes of tofu chunks and hard-cooked egg slices. Base your arrangement on a bed of fresh spinach. Here are some recommended vegetables and garnishes:
a drizzle of sesame oil, apples, lemons, oranges, raisins, toasted seeds & nuts
- (steamed or raw):
shredded cabbage, carrot slices, celery slices
broccoli spears, whole green beands
fresh raw mung bean sprouts
tofu chunks, either raw or suateed in iol with sesame seeds
pieces of egg
[Notes: I served this sauce over the following, and it tasted outrageous. (I didn’t serve it with summer rolls, b/c when I chose to make this recipe, I just thought it looked like a yummy sauce to put over veggies and tofu. Little did I know that it would taste so much like amazing, Thai summer roll dipping sauce!)
- organic, unpeeled, sweet potato cubes
- raw, organic tofu cubes
- raw, organic orange bell pepper
- Tomorrow, I’m going to try it over some rice noodles with the veggies and tofu on top. I think that shrimp or chicken would also taste amazing as alternative protein choices.]