“No-Cook” Coconut Ginger Peanut Sauce
This delicious and gorgeous sauce is delightful over rice noodles, or as a dipping sauce for fresh spring rolls.
COOK : Emily B. Cooney
HOME : Albuquerque, New Mexico
One batch serves 2-3 people.
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (preferrably non-processed, non-sweetened; otherwise, use less honey)
- 2 TB chopped cilantro
- 2 TB minced ginger
- 2 TB minced garlic
- 2 dashes soy sauce
- 2 TB rice vinegar
- 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped, seeds removed
- 2 TB honey
- optional: 1/2 raw beet finely grated
- optional: juice of 1/2 a lime
- Make the base, whisking together the peanut butter and coconut milk
- Add the chopped ingredients – garlic, ginger, cilantro, beets; Mix
- Add vinegar, soy sauce and honey; Mix
- If desired, add lime juice
The texture should be thick but have an element of fluidity to it.
- Garnish wish sesame seeds and/or fresh herbs
- Serve at room temperature, over rice noodles, as a dipping sauce for spring rolls or raw vegetables
- Substitue basil (thai basil can be very nice) for cilantro
- Substitute cayenne, or pepper flakes, or hot pepper oil for hot peppers
- If using a peanut butter that is dry, not oily, you can add up to 2 Tbsp oil; sesame; peanut oil is nice; or some hot pepper oil depending on heat preferences.
- Use raw onions instead of garlic
- “If it’s fresh and it’s around and you don’t have the called-for ingredients, it’s worth trying in this recipe.” – ebc
This is a no-cook (raw) sauce, highly nutritious as almost all ingredients are in their raw form
As there is no cooking involved, nor is the sequence of the ingredients highly important, it’s a sauce that is easy to tweak – should you care for more spice, add more hot pepper, should you like it sweeter, add some honey, et cetera.
If you must refrigerate the sauce, it will most likely solidify. Add a bit of warm water to bring back the more liquid texture.
When doubling, you may find you lose the taste of the ginger somewhat, so add more than the double
TALKING WITH THE COOK :
IHC : Tell us about this sauce.
EBC : There’s a richness to it that comes from the coconut milk and organic – if you can find it – peanut stock. The taste is also tangy, but if you want it can be more spicy, or more sweet. Because you’re not cooking anything, you don’t lose nutritional value/nutrients, especially for the garlic, which has medicinal qualities in its raw form. Some people think that if you even simmer a food you lose the nutritional value. If you have a garlic press, use that, it makes a stronger garlic flavor, and releases the juices.
IHC : What’s great about garlic?
EBC : It’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, good for the circulatory system, can help expel phlegm (it’s an expectorant)… it’s used to reduce cholesterol levels…it’s a natural insecticide/pesticide…it’s great to use garlic in your cooking and not to be frugal with it! The more you can eat it raw, but for some people, eating garlic is not the most exciting thing, so in this format in this sauce, you’re eating the raw garlic but not necessarily tasting it. Because garlic is grown underground, some think it can help you connect to the earth. It stimulates your circulation,stimulates your cardio-vascular system, stimulates your digestive processes and triggers the release of enzymes that are required to break food down. The bottom line is: it helps keep things moving!
IHC : Who taught you to cook?
EBC : I picked up a few basic recipes from my mom, but I was inspired to be a good cook by my friend Erinn Manning Lamour – I watched her cook anywhere, without a kitchen – she makes great falafel sandwiches, she’s always baking things in the wintertime (helps keep the house warm), makes amazing oatmeal raisin cookies – it never seemed to me that cooking was a drudgery to her, no matter the conditions, even if she was cooking on a hot plate – it was just sort of worked into her day in a way that it renewed my interest in cooking.
IHC : What is your ideal atmosphere for cooking?
EBC : I like to have a clean counter – I like to have a container to throw chopped things into – people to share the food with…
IHC : Do you like to share your kitchen, or cook alone?
EBC : I prefer to cook all by myself – in a big whirlwind of tasmanian devilish activity – I like to put things away when I’m done using them, I like when I’m done cooking to almost be done cleaning it up at the same time.
IHC : What (besides peanut sauce) do people request the most?
EBC : Cornbread, lentil soup, everything with good sauces.
IHC : How have you been inspired by Southwest cooking?
EBC : Here, we put green chilis in everything…as they say around here, ‘red or green?’
IHC : Is there a particular time of day you prefer to cook?
EBC : When I have energy. Here I’m mostly interested in supporting local farmers as much as possible, supporting organic farms, looking at sustainability practices and growing your own food as much as possible. I think about things like how many miles a vegetable had to travel to get to the grocery store. I focus on that quite a bit. It’s interesting here because there’s so much sun and it’s very tempting to grow a lot of things but you have to be aware, with the limited water supply. I’m very intersted in finding foods in the wild. I’ve gone mushroom hunting around here … I’ve found amazing, delicious porcinis. There’s all kinds of wild herbs you can gather here.
IHC : When you’re entertaining, what makes a successful meal?
EBC : Everyone has enough to eat. There’s a variety of nutritient sources – grains, vegetables, proteins. I think a little of a lot of things is better than one massive amount of one thing, so usually I try to do that.
IHC : How can you tell that someone’s enjoying your food?
EBC : They say ‘mmm.’
IHC : If there were one change that everyone could make, as far as their eating habits, what would have the biggest effect, in your opinion?
EBC : Connection to the source. Being conscious, being interested in where the food is coming from. Purposefully being aware that when you eat food, you’re being fed by the earth, that your survival is completely dependent upon what grows on this planet. Seeing that you’re provided for, and giving thanks for that. I think giving thanks and preparing food when you’re full of love is probably the most important thing, regardless of what you eat.
People have done studies where you hold a jar of water and you think certain thoughts, or tape certain words/emotions to that jar, then they looked at those water molecules under special electron microscopes, to find that actually the structure of the water molecules changed to reflect what kind of energy was around it. Water is so absorbing, and the planet is mostly made out of water; and your body is mostly made out of water; and a lot of the foods you eat, especially vegetables, are such high water content, that I think that the energy that’s around them when you’re preparing them is directly felt by the people who then consume those things. So whether it’s a cow on a farm, or a potato in a garden, or an apple on a tree, once those things make their way to your kitchen, you have to be aware that they’re still absorbing energy and you’re still going to be ingesting the energy inside of those structures. So if you’re making food and you’re not feeling gratitude, and love and care for the people that you’re trying to feed – even if it’s just yourself – I think you’re missing out on a lot of the value of that food, nutritional or otherwise.
I’ve read a lot of things about what you should eat and what people think about diets. Everyone has an opinion, but the thing is, with food, it’s probably the most emotionally volatile subject in day-to-day life. I mean, there’s other really big ones, but a lot of people go through their days without really confronting those other big ones. But food, it’s so direct and immediate and everyone really seems to want to tell other people what they should eat and react fiercely to other people’s eating habits. I just think, if you’re trying to help someone, if they’re looking for information, than give them what you have, but there seems to me to be very little point in trying to push your food feelings onto others. Just because people are so protective of their food habits. They’re so proud of their meat-eating, or whatever it is, they feel threatened when people try to come in and tell them that’s wrong.
Certainly, we could use a lot of change in our food systems, and I think worldwide, things are getting pretty scary in terms of the food industry. But if you’re educating people about it in a way that they’re not able to swallow, then it’s sort of counter-productive. There’s a lot to be learned, but it’s a really sensitve area. So you have to be aware of that when you’re talking to people about what they should or shouldn’t do with food, or what might be good for them or what might not, and there’s so many opinions about it. There’s aruveydic food recommendations, there’s vegetarianism, there’s blood typing food diets, there’s sort of no end. I think the bottom line is, the more you’re eating local stuff and fresh stuff, the more you know how it was grown and what energy was put into it, then the better off you are. But people like to make things really complicated.