My boyfriend has a very peculiar habit of making (and eating) peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in his sleep. It was a little alarming at first, but I’ve grown used to it, particularly since he began making sleep sandwiches for me. This is all to say we go through peanut butter quite quickly, and I recently opened my pantry to discover not one, but two, almost empty jars of JIF.
These jars are quite valuable in my eyes. Due to the sticky, unctuous nature of peanut butter, there is often quite a bit clinging to the sides of the jar. Even if it’s not enough for a sandwich, it is enough for something. They make great ice cream vessels, but if you want to take things in a savory direction, I must suggest you use one to make a peanut sauce.
Photo: Claire Lower
It’s a very freeform process, one that depends on exactly how much peanut butter is lingering in the jar, but it is also quite easy. You just need some sort of neutral oil, soy sauce, a chili sauce (sriracha works fine), lime, and some sort of sweetener (I used a combo of mirin and simple syrup). You can also add fish sauce, sesame oil, pickled ginger brine, lemongrass, or anything else you have hanging out in the fridge you think will work. These are the ratios I used, but I urge you to tweak them to your liking for a personal peanut sauce experience.
Empty JIF Jar Peanut Sauce
- 1 near empty jar of creamy peanut butter
- 1-3 tablespoons of a neutral oil
- 2 teaspoons mirin
- 1 teaspoon chili sauce (such as sriracha)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/4-1/2 of a lime
- 1/2 teaspoon of simple syrup, or some other liquid sweetener
Add one tablespoon of the oil to the jar, close the jar, and give it an enthusiastic shaking. Open the jar and, using a long spoon, scrape the sides to further loosen the peanut butter and get it into solution. If it still looks quite thick (like, mostly peanut butter), add another tablespoon of oil and repeat the process.
Add the mirin, chili sauce, soy sauce, and the juice of 1/4 of a lime. Close the jar, shake everything together, then open it up and scrape the sides with a spoon and stir to combine. Give it a taste, and add more lime or a little simple syrup if you think it needs it. You can also dash in a little fish sauce for funk, or a little sesame oil. Once your sauce is tasting exactly how you want it, pour it into a bowl and dip things (satay, French fries, spring rolls, cucumbers) into it, or use it as a salad dressing. Repeat as often as almost empty peanut butter jars manifest in your pantry which, for me, is several times a month.
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