Peanut Butter Stew

One some cold winter night in Portland, ME, a dear friend gathered a half-dozen or so people in her apartment to talk and drink wine and eat a fabulous concoction of rice, winter vegetables, swiss chard, peanut sauce and pineapple. An unusual combination, perhaps, but so delicious.

I didn’t have quite the same ingredients on hand, but managed a similar concoction for my main meal this week. I love the warmth of the red pepper in the peanut sauce and the root vegetables combined with the protein of the grain and nuts make this a wonderfully filling dish. Or I might just like it because it’s a slightly classier way to consume large amounts of peanut butter – as opposed to eating it out of the jar with a spoon…

The Recipe: Peanut Butter Stew

Ingredients: 
A fair amount of sweet onion, diced small
1 large clove garlic
2-4 tbsp olive oil
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 medium-sized carrots, cut in rounds or diced
1 head of kale, washed, stemmed, and torn into edible chunks (You could also use swiss chard or spinach, depending on the season)
1.5 cups cooked quinoa (brown rice works as a substitute too)

2 cups peanut butter
1-2 cups hot water
Tamari/soy sauce to taste
Crushed red pepper to taste (or sriracha or cayenne or fresh hot peppers; anything to give it a sort of warm, slow heat)

Directions:
1.) Heat oil in a soup pot and sautee onions and garlic until softened.
2.) Add potatoes and carrots. Continue to stir-fry until soft or add some water to the pot and cover. Allow to steam until softened and water has boiled away. (You may need to add a bit more oil at this step.)
3.) While the vegetables cook, combine peanut butter, hot water, tamari, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. You’ll want to add the hot water a cup at a time in order to have more control over the consistency. I made mine about the consistency of warm honey, but you could make it more like ranch dressing if you like a thinner sauce.
4.) Add kale to the mix. You can allow it to wilt as much as you like. I prefer more crunch for this green, so I just tossed it in for a couple minutes before…
5.) Add the peanut sauce and quinoa to the pot. Mix until everything is covered in the peanut sauce.

Serve hot and enjoy!

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Singapore. Satay.

I’ve never been quite so happy to be back to eating meat as I was last Friday when M.L.’s order from a hawker at Bukit Timah Market arrived at our table in the corner carrying this:

Pork, mutton, and chicken satay from Bukit Timah Market.

The meat is sweet and savory at the same time and the peanut sauce that traditionally accompanies the dish adds a pleasantly surprising spice to the mix.

If there weren’t so many other delicious meal options on this island nation, I’d be tempted to eat it everyday. But since there are other food excursions to be had (tonight’s dim sum at Yum Cha in Chinatown deserves a post of its own), I’m going to just savor the memory of the satay and attempt my own version of it when I return to the States. There’s a good Malaysian recipe (here) that looks fairly similar to what we had as well as a slightly simpler Thai recipe that could also be delicious (here).

If someone else will volunteer to bring the potato salad and beer, this could be one heck of a summer barbeque…