If your house is like mine, it’s a national emergency when we run out of peanut butter. My youngest son, Henry, never seems to tire of eating it in a sandwich, but recently I decided to capitalize on his obsession and experiment with it beyond the lunch box. He was delighted when I presented him with “chicken on a stick with peanut butter sauce” (a.k.a satay-style chicken) at the dinner table. The sauce is so easy to make, and often I make extra so I can use it for other meals. It keeps (well covered) in the fridge, for a week.
- Place 1 clove of garlic and a 1-inch length of peeled fresh ginger in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add 1/2 cup smooth and sweetened peanut butter (such as Jif or Skippy), 1/2 cup warm water, 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar (red wine, cider or rice), and 1 teaspoon sugar.
- Throw in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chile flakes if you’d like some heat, and blend until smooth (thin with additional water if necessary).
Chicken Satay (Chicken on a stick)
- Stir together 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice with 2 Tbsp olive oil, and 1 tsp salt.
- Slice 1 lb chicken breasts lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces and marinate for 1-3 hours
- While chicken marinates, soak 8 to 10 (8-inch long) wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes.
- Then thread the meat onto skewers and cook on a stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat, turning once, until cooked through, about 3 minutes a side. (Chicken can also be cooked under a broiler, 4 to 6 inches from the heat.)
- Serve with peanut sauce.
Shredded Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing
- Shred the meat of 1 rotisserie chicken into a shallow bowl.
- Thinly slice 1/2 lb snow or sugar snap peas and add to bowl with chicken.
- Toss with peanut butter sauce and sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped peanuts.
- Serve on a bed of leaf or bibb lettuce with steamed rice alongside.
- Cook 3/4 lb soba, udon, or linguine noodles until al dente, according to package directions.
- Drain, then rinse briefly under running water and drain well again.
- Cut half of a peeled English cucumber in half lengthwise, then thinly slice.
- Thinly slice 3 scallions.
- Toss peanut sauce with noodles and cucumber and sprinkle scallions over the top. Serve warm or cold.
- Lightly steam 1/2 lb broccoli florets and 1/4 lb trimmed green beans.
- Cut a combination of carrots, celery, English cucumber (scrubbed but unpeeled) into sticks and cut a colorful combination of bell peppers, first in half, then quarter each half lengthwise.
- Serve a bowl of peanut sauce alongside.
Pan Fried Tofu with Peanut Sauce
- Cut a 14 oz block of firm tofu lengthwise into 4 equal pieces.
- Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, lightly beat 1 egg in a bowl.
- Pat tofu dry and season with 1/4 tsp salt.
- Coat tofu with egg, letting excess drip off, then fry, turning once, until golden on the outside and heated through, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Drain on a paper towel lined plate, then serve over steamed rice with peanut sauce and top with 1 Tbsp black or toasted sesame seeds.
Peanut Butter Slaw
- Thinly shred 5 cups of green or red cabbage and add to a large bowl.
- Coarsely grate 2 carrots, and thinly slice 1 seeded red bell pepper, 2 celery stalks, and 4 scallions, then add to bowl with cabbage.
- Toss with peanut sauce.
- Let stand 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to develop.
- Sprinkle with 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.