My Mom's Peanut Sauce

Posted on July 21, 2008 by psu

Tonight a recipe that will do you no good at all. The Penn Avenue Fish Company has had head-on shrimp lately. These are huge shrimp which are for once sold whole. This means you can cook the shrimp with the head still on. They taste better that way. What I did was just drop them in boiling water until they told me they were done. The second time I got nervous and left them in a bit longer and they were overcooked. Don’t let this happen to you. When the shell changes color they are pretty much done.

So I needed something to dip the shrimp in.

Cocktail sauce is not my expertise. I decided to make my mom’s peanut sauce. She used to make this for cold noodles a lot, but you can do other things with it.

Start with a couple of tablespoons of hot water. Add to this a couple of table spoons of peanut butter. The best kind to use is JIF or Peter Pan or something. You can’t use the stuff that is nothing but organic ground nuts because the fake stuff has emulsifiers in it that hold the sauce together. If this bothers you, get the Whole Foods version of JIF. It works about as well.

Get a whisk and whisk in some soy sauce. How much? 2 glugs. Enough to give the sauce enough soy sauce flavor. Enough so that the consistency is right. Not so much that things get too salty or you kill the taste of the peanut butter. The finished product should be thick enough to stick the food, but still more like a liquid than a solid. You just have to keep mixing and adjusting until it looks and tastes right. Of course, you’ve never made it or tasted it so you don’t know. Thus, this recipe is useless.

In any case, for dipping sauces that want a bit of sweetness, you can now add Hoisin Sauce. This will thicken the sauce a bit and give it a sweet aftertaste. When you get those fresh spring rolls the dipping sauce they come with tastes like my peanut sauce with Hoisin in it and peanuts on top.

Adding chili oil is also a good variation.

Adding citrus or a bit of vinegar also works well.

For the shimp, I added a bit of hot sauce and some lime juice. I liked it. Karen thought it was a little too strong for the shrimp. It would have been great on spring rolls though.

For the classic cold peanut noodles, take the base sauce without the Hoisin and add a bit of sesame oil mix it up to coat cold cooked noodles. My mom used to use spaghetti. Any sort of similar noodle will work. Add scallions on top and maybe cucumber cut into thin sticks if you are not lazy.

Now what always confused me is why people are always calling that dish “sesame” noodles. I guess there must be a way to make it without peanut butter. Oh well.