It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Despite the fact that I’m Jewish and spend almost every Christmas either at a restaurant in Chinatown or on my couch with a container of fried rice, I still emerge from the holiday season craving Asian food. Instead of turning to take out, I turn to my pantry -- and almost always, the most satisfying dish that results is a bowl of peanut noodles.
I’ve been making homemade peanut sauce since my early days as a food semi-professional —- there’s even an early recipe in my cookbook. But around the time that the cookbook came out (and about the same time as I was mainlining peanut noodles at every weeknight meal), I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy.
As a cuisine, Chinese food is not the most gluten-free-friendly. Luckily, the culprit -- soy sauce -- is relatively easy to avoid at home. I just substitute soy sauce with gluten-free tamari. It tastes nearly the same as soy sauce and in fact, and is almost ubiquitous at our markets today.
Peanut sauce couldn’t be easier to make: it’s as simple as blitzing a bevy of Asian condiments in a food processor alongside some garlic and fresh ginger, then thinning it with a little water. I’ve streamlined the ingredients over the years to omit Worcestershire sauce (a no-no for vegetarians), so that my peanut noodles can be enjoyed by even more people. I prefer honey to table sugar, but you can easily swap it out to make the sauce vegan.
Makes 1 cup
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Sriracha
1⁄2 cup smooth peanut butter
1⁄4 cup gluten-free tamari
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Scallions, for garnish
In a small food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients and purée until coarsely combined.
Add 1/4 cup warm water and purée until smooth. Add more water as necessary, until the peanut sauce is similar to the consistency of ranch dressing.
Garnish with scallions and serve alongside shrimp or chicken skewers, as a topping for a rice bowl, or tossed together with noodles. Extra sauce can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Photos by Phoebe Lapine