Monday, July 30, 2007

0 Recipe #5: Broccoli Stir-Fry in a Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

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Broccoli Stir-Fry in a Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce

Sauce Ingredients:
1 1/2 Tbsp. garlic (about 4 medium garlic cloves), peeled & minced
1 tsp. ginger (about 1" piece), peeled (using the side of a spoon) & minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. crushed red chili pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts
1 Tbsp. reduced fat, natural style (i.e., no sugar added) creamy peanut butter
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, finely minced
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. sesame seed oil
1/2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1/3 c.light/lowfat, unsweetened coconut milk (from a can) (or if unavailable, use light plain soy milk or water)
1 scallion, chopped crosswise into thin rounds (use whole scallion, including green portion)

Stir-Fry Ingredients:
3 c. broccoli (Chinese broccoli is particularly fantastic; if unavailable, use common, "calabrese" style broccoli)
1/2 c. water

Directions: Using a mortar & pestle, make the garlic ginger paste. This is done by combining garlic, ginger, & salt, pulverizing the mixture until it turns into a smooth paste. (The salt not only provides flavor, but aids in the pulverization process.) Next, add red chili pepper flakes, crushing them with the pestle until well, combined. Add peanuts & grind them into a fine, crumbly powder (or as close to that consistency as possible). Add peanut butter, cilantro, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, & sesame seed oil, continuing to smash together ingredients until well-blended. Gently mix in sesame seeds, and then transfer ingredients to a small sauce pot. Combine with scallions & 1/3 c. coconut milk (or plain soy milk or water), mix well, & cook for a minute or so, only enough to warm the sauce without browning it.  Set aside. Next, lightly steam broccoli in water, being careful not to overcook, brown, or burn. Broccoli should be firm, not limp or mushy. At this point, the water should be almost completely evaporated & the broccoli should still be a bright green color. Remove from heat, drain any excess water, & divide into equal portions. Top with peanut sauce, and serve with (long grain, brown) basmati rice or cellophane/rice noodles.

Chef's Notes: To save time, you can make the sauce using a food-processor instead of a mortar & pestle. In that case, just dump in all of the sauce ingredients at once and pulse until smooth.

Alternate Preparation Ideas: This dish would taste really good made with carrots, tofu, and perhaps a few mung bean sprouts.  Or alternatively, you could substitute or add chicken or beef.

To make this recipe even lighter, you can substitute a 1/2 tsp. sesame oil + 1/2 tsp. water for the 1 tsp. sesame oil, and 1/6 c. light coconut milk + 1/6 c. water (or plain soy milk) for the 1/3 c. light coconut milk.  I realize most liquid measures don't have 1/6 c. markers, but just eyeball it and pour in about half of a 1/3 c. coconut milk & fill the remainder of that measure with water (or plain soy milk) up to the 1/3 c. line.

Yield: Serves 2.

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