I have made a version of this sauce a couple times now, once a few weeks ago when I served delicious Thai inspired meatballs to dip into it, I have tossed it with rice noodles for a quick and flavorful meal and this time I made it specifically for a stir fry. This sauce is so full of flavor and very simple to make. It is naturally gluten-free and vegetarian, easily made vegan by skipping the fish sauce and adding in gluten-free soy sauce instead.
In a stir fry that is jam packed with your favorite vegetables, it is perfection. I love how robust the flavors of red curry is, there is a strong taste of lemongrass and chiles with a hint of ginger. If you have never tried it, you need to. It has a bit of heat to it, but it isn’t too strong, if you don’t like spicy, start with just a tablespoon of curry paste in the sauce and go from there. I always go with 2-3 tablespoons myself, since we both love spicy food.
I included my recipe for this particular stir fry, to give you an idea on how to serve it, but the vegetables can really be whatever you want them to be. I happened to pick up a beautiful large head of napa cabbage since I had been craving something like that, but you could also use bok choy, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, etc. Make it to your liking and have fun with it. I just wish I had a bit more color in my vegetables, but I used the red bell pepper I had meant to use for this in another recipe earlier in the week, so I used the yellow instead. As you can see in the photo below, the peppers, cabbage and noodles all blend together in color, but I can promise that the flavors are all distinct and complimentary of each other. I just have this funny thing about having tons of colors in my stir fries, must be a graphic designer thing. It is one of my favorite things about them.
What are your favorite vegetables to use in a stir fry?
Since I always end up making more sauce than what I need, I store it in a glass mason jar with a tight lid for up to a week. This sauce make a great dipping sauce or could be served over steamed broccoli, rice or rice noodles for a quick and easy bite.
[print_this]Red Curry Peanut Sauce (gluten-free + vegetarian with vegan option)
makes about 2 cups
1 – 13.5 ounce can unsweetened light organic coconut milk
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon gluten-free fish sauce*
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (you could also use brown sugar or raw sugar)
1/3 cup natural chunky peanut butter (creamy will work, too)
In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk, coconut sugar, curry paste, and fish sauce. Whisk to combine. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add peanut butter and cook over a low heat, whisking, until peanut butter is well blended.
* NOTE: to make this sauce vegan, leave out the fish sauce or replace with a gluten-free soy sauce[/print_this]
[print_this]Red Curry Peanut Vegetable Stir Fry
Use your favorite stir-fry ingredients. This is just to show you how I served mine
2 teaspoons sesame or peanut oil
1 head of napa cabbage, about 1lb, cleaned and sliced thin
1 bell pepper (I used yellow, red would work as well), sliced thin
1 clove garlic clove, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger, minced
8 oz sliced mushrooms
large handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
6 ounces thin rice noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained
Heat the oil in a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, lemongrass and ginger, saute, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add the cabbage and bell pepper and cook until the cabbage is just starting to wilt, about 5-8 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and continue to stir fry until they are cooked. Add in some cilantro and green onions to your taste, toss around to combine. Lower the heat and add about 1 cup of the red curry peanut sauce (you can add more or less, depending on how saucy you want it). Toss to coat all of the vegetables in the sauce. And remove from heat. Add the rice noodles to a large bowl and pour the stir fried vegetables and sauce over top. Toss gently to combine. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, green onions and chopped peanuts. You can also drizzle a little more sauce overtop if you want it saucier.
NOTE: This sauce can be used in any stir fry of your choice, use whatever vegetables you would like. This was just what I had on hand.[/print_this]