Thai Peanut Stir-Fry Sauce + Training Camp Survival

Setting sweat records daily!

January means the beginning of the build for the 2013 season, and this includes one of my favourites, training camp!! Although a Vancouver January camp is the shits compared to an April Tucson camp (see: rain & snow,) I still love the day-in, day-out volume of training. I’ve put some epic hours on the trainer in the last few days (today is day 4 of camp,) some long HOOOOOT suffer sessions, and those hard days will pay off when the race season comes around! Long hot indoor bike sessions can leave you depleted of electrolytes, especially with the heat cranked (yup, I ‘enjoy’ pumping it up to 25-30C.) My Powerbar Perform and bars have been helping me keep those electrolytes up, as multiple workouts a day means you need TONS of electrolytes to keep yourself going (without cramping!) The other day I broke my sweat record, after a 4hr spin it was pooling all around the pain cave floor (yes, even sweating is a competition!!)

Powerbar has my back indoors and out!

Another part of training camp (which, I have to admit, is probably my favourite part,) is the endless amount of eating required. BUT, long training hours and the “I don’t feel like moving” fatigue brought along with it leaves little energy or time for cooking or food prep. I’ve found the best way to get through is to make things like sauces, dressings, etc, in bulk, and pre-cook things like rice, quinoa, farro, etc, stored in the fridge. Even chopping different veg into containers speeds the process along. Then eating meals becomes more of an ‘assembly’ than actually cooking. Another speedy cheater is to make huge batches of things like chilli, curry, etc, and freeze them into single or double serve containers. Microwave or heat on the stove and BAM! Easy-peasy meal. HUGE quinoa salads keep well in the fridge for a while, and just taste better day after day. All easy ways for EVERYONE to bring some extra efficiency to their daily lives, to fit every minute of activity in you can (because few people have lots of time to cook all the time!)

Well, I have recently formed an addiction to ‘bowl’ meals, like curries, stir-frys, rice bowls, etc (must be the weather?) Two of my FAVOURITE dishes right now are coconut curry and thai peanut stir-fry! I will have to make a post with my curry recipe (it’s absolutely smashing, I LOVE it, it’s incredibly versatile,) but this post I will share my peanut stir fry sauce.

Making my favourite stir-fry, Spicy Thai-Peanut!!

THAI PEANUT STIR-FRY SAUCE:

I always use a blender for this one, it helps blend and emulsify the sauce. A regular blender will work fine, although I use my vitamix. Even a food processor will work just fine. This will give you a fair amount, I’ve made this sauce for up to 10 people (10 HUNGRY people, any guess where that might’ve been???) But this amount will probably give you about 3½-4 cups worth or so, enough for a few meals.

**NOTE** if you include the chillies in this recipe, it has some BITE! Adjust for your own personal heat level tolerance.

You will need:
– 2C coconut milk (light is a useable substitute, but will not have the same flavour and consistency as full-fat);

– scant ¼ C soy sauce (or tamari, Braggs Soy Seasoning, etc);
– juice from 2 juicy limes (fresh is ALWAYS best!);
– couple plops of hot sauce (preferably something like Sriracha,or the Rooster brand stuff);
– 2-4tsp brown sugar (adjust for taste preference);
– piece of fresh ginger the size of your thumb (maybe 2-3Tbsp worth,) peeled and chopped;
– 1-3 thai red chillies, seeded (unless you’re like me and like the burn from the seeds,) chopped (or a solid sprinkle of dried chilli flakes, for ease);

– 1 to 1 ¼ C natural PB (salted is fine; I almost go with 1.5C as I LOVE the taste of peanuts);
– 4tbsp tahini (*optional* makes it a little thicker and creamier);
– 4 tbsp pure sesame oil, toasted adds a nice flavour but any type will do;
– ½ C toasted nuts (your preference, peanuts go nicely but any will do, the crunch is what we’re after here.)

**NOTE** Thai red chillies are bloody hot little BAMF’s, so watch out! Even when handling and chopping, be sure to wash your hands BEFORE YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM!!!! Trust me, from personal experience, if you don’t it makes for an interesting night. And not so much for you, but anyone else around you witnessing the dancing comedy show you’ll put on.

Now, take the first 7 ingredients (coconut milk to chillies,) and put in a blender. Blend well, so that everything is well mixed.

Add everything else but the nuts, and blend until well emulsified. Taste-test time!!! If something isn’t to your liking, adjust it. If too salty, add some more brown sugar; if it’s too rich, add a bit more lime juice.

Once you’re happy with the flavour profile (different brands and sources of ingredients will yield slightly different results,) add the toasted nuts and just blend ever-so-slightly, until the nuts are chopped up. Now you’re happening!!

Serve it over your choice of steamed veg, fried/grilled chicken, seafood, tofu, tempeh, and rice, quinoa, noodles, etc. Top with chopped and toasted nuts, cilantro, chopped green onions, and whatever else you’ve got a hankering for!

My favourite way to do the veggies, is to put a scant ½” water in the bottom of a covered skillet, bring to a boil; Put the hardest veggies in first, and lightly steam, adding the softer veggies until they’re ALMOST al dente (stir-frys should usually have bright and fresh veggies, not mushy like in a curry.) Uncover, letting almost all the water in the bottom of the skillet evaporate (shouldn’t take long,) and add your desired amount of sauce. Heat just long enough to warm the sauce. Serve that magic on top of whatever and you’re happening!

Appropriately, I store it in old PB jars.

Just a forewarning, this stuff might as well be crack, because I find myself dipping stuff in it and I can’t stop eating it! It won’t last long, guaranteed. It should stay well in the fridge for a while, and you can also freeze it in little batches (or big, whatever works!)

Speaking of time efficiency, time to get out on the new mountain bike for it’s maiden voyage!!! Happy training everyone, be safe out there!!!

Nathan

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