Time once again for me to tie on an apron, peek in my cupboards and fridge, and play about in the kitchen… this time continuing my endless personal quest to perfect the ultimate in a taste tantalizing spicy peanut sauce. “Endless quest”, you ask? Why certainly!!
Now… for me anyway, there are always some recipes… that no matter just how successful and yummy they may be that first time out…. just beg for this goofy Catgirl to keep playing and “tweaking” them… always certain that somehow they can be made just that much better. Curry is one of those…. and it’s led this lady on many a wild chase as fruity goodness meets hot and spicy and does that magical dance that always seems to end up someplace different every darn time, but always somewhere soooo, soooo, tasty and good. Well…. Peanut sauce is just like that too. Seriously…. Would this lil’ Catgirl kid you?
I make it all the time… Using both real peanuts as well as peanut butter on occasion, depending on what I have available on hand and the time I can spend on it, even throwing in other different types of nuts to change things up when I’m feeling particularly daring. Some of these versions end up becoming staples…. working well as a simple noodle sauce, others as marinades or dipping sauces, and some others that end up so chunky and thick that they absolutely beg to be slathered on meat like BBQ sauce for grilling. In all their forms, Peanut Sauces are another of my favorite things to eat….. and luckily, over the years, I’ve been able to convince most of my friends that they, too, need that wonderful taste in their life as well.
With a “Movie Nite” last week to share with not only Carolyn, but also with Sam and her latest “steady guy”, it was only natural that I’d want to get a little more creative than just bagged chips and popcorn and actually whip us up something nice to snack on during the show, so what better than yet another version of this old favorite tailored for an American finger food like chicken wings? Sounds good to this lil’ Catgirl, and I was sure it would go over big with both Carolyn and our guests.
Wanna know how it came out… maybe even make some for yourself? Then by all means… “Read On” o’ Gentle Visitor!!
Peanuts and chilies… Almost every time I mention those in combination to people for the first time I get that same odd look from them, like I just might have finally lost it and gone waaay… waaay over the edge never to return to the safe and comfortable food most of them are familiar with. But they really shouldn’t be so surprised… people have been mixing chilies with just about everything under the sun since waaaaay back when they first got discovered, sometimes with some remarkably wonderful results.
This is one of those. I’ve done chicken wings in a peanut sauce before… as Carolyn can attest to… as far back as my college days, when every now and again it would be my turn to cook for the rest of the girls in my suite, a task we all shared to help keep down the costs of using the Food Service at school. Still… over the years I’ve tried various recipes to shake it up a bit… and as you can see, I’m still at it.
This time out, I was looking to get a thicker, chunkier sauce almost as thick and clinging as a good BBQ sauce, but with the same delightfully exotic spicy zest I normal shoot for in my noodle sauce. The chicken wings themselves? Those I pan fried ahead of time, a handful at a time, in peanut oil on the stove top in my trusty wok before setting them aside to await their slathering coat of zippy peanutty goodness. If you have your own lil’ deep fryer… so much the better!
Our sauce comes together in a medium saucepan into which we add 2 tablespoons of that same peanut oil and begin by cooking down over medium heat:½ cup of diced red onion 2 cloves of minced garlic 1 tbsp of paprika
1 pinch of salt
Once the onions are translucent and the garlic lightly browned, de-glaze with the juice of ½ a lemon and ½ a cup of chicken stock. Stir to get all the wonderful browned bits into the mix and then add:2 tbsp of soy sauce 2 cups of coconut milk 2 tbsp brown sugar 2 tbsp cider vinegar 2 good tablespoons (or more…. Wink, wink!!) of Sambal Oelek … Or if you are lacking that, Tabasco sauce will work in a pinch.
1 cup of chunky peanut butter (Not chunky enough? Just add an ounce of lightly crushed salted peanuts… it’s all good!)
Let it all simmer a bit… allowing all the flavors to blend and the sauce to thicken somewhat before adding ¼ cup of heavy cream along with a couple tablespoons of flour mixed together with some more chicken stock into a thin slurry… Not too much, or the sauce will become overly thickened as you continue to simmer for another minute or two. If you’ve done it right… you should end up with a thick, chunky sauce perfect to coat your wings, before popping them on a baking platter, and into the oven for about 10-12 minutes at 350º to crisp the whole bunch to tasty perfection.
These will go wonderfully with wine coolers and beer…. and I’ve never seen people fail to gobble them down once they catch a whiff of them straight from the oven. Yummy!!
Hopefully, you’ll find them as tasty and fun to make as I do… and until next time your Favorite Catgirl gets bit by the cookin’ bug, “Meow, meow for now!”