I really love peanut sauce and have been making it from scratch for a long time. I used to always use Ina's recipe that she uses on her wonderful Szechuan Noodle salad, and would just keep it in the fridge, but it was kind of a drag to make. But that's cool, I just sucked it up and made it anyway. It's scrumptious and has a long list of ingredients. Then I started making a simpler one, from another cookbook, the fabulous Rebar: Modern Food Cookbook and it was a nice change, but a bit salty for me and again required just a few more jars of oils/vinegars and prep than I seemed up for.
Then true laziness crept in and I stopped making it regularly. I need a fast sauce for the spur of the moment craving. Like lightning fast. So, one evening, desperate, I mixed salsa, peanut butter, and maple syrup and a little water. Heated it up. Done. Delicious. My husband, watching me do this, declared it Magic Sauce. I have been making this for a few months now and use it as a dip, a drizzle on burritos, as a dressing on salads, a dipping sauce for thai food, like fresh salad rolls, on rice with shredded cabbage— you name it.
Here's the basic recipe although I make it a little different each time-
- about 1 cup salsa, whatever I have on hand
- about 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- about 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (I prefer maple syrup)
- a little water, maybe
Heat just a little and stir. And stir and stir. Now stir some more. It's grainy at first and then when it emulsifies and becomes silky smooth and the color lightens a lot. It keeps well, but I use up so fast, I wouldn't really know. It's magic. I have added chopped cilantro, grated fresh ginger, a clove of garlic, lime juice, and hot sauce at various times, depending on what I'm feeling like, but most often have it with just these 3 ingredients. You would think the salsa would make this only work with Mexican food, but it's incredibly versatile. I use it both warm and cold, if I use it straight from the fridge cold, I usually add a little water and give it a good stir.
I am probably not the first person to do this, I haven't done any research online, but all I know is I always have peanut butter, maple syrup and salsa in the house, so I always have Magic Sauce.