After leaving behind my favorite Thai food in San Francisco a couple of years ago, I found myself wading in the dim waters of the new, New York food scene and in an unfamiliar neighborhood; I didn't have much luck with any takeout that doesn't rhyme with "mizza".
After a particularly terrible bout of bronchitis which left me scrambling to eat larger quantities of food alongside antibiotics, I reached out for something more substantial: Thai food. I ordered chicken satay platter and coconut milk soup, neither of which were very appetizing upon arrival. Instead of something I was used to seeing on my plate, I was delivered two large, whole chicken breasts swimming in a runny, orange liquid, a mushy pile of broccoli and other mixed vegetables, a carton of rice, and sour soup that didn't taste much like coconut milk.
I ate what I could and stuffed the rest in my refrigerator to deal with later. Instead of pitching the bland meal the following day, I first shredded the chicken and boiled it in the soup broth to infuse flavor to the dry protein. Next, I mixed the rice and salvageable vegetables together and reheated them in a sauce pan with a bit of oil. For the crowning jewel of any Thai food dinner; I knew I had to make my own peanut sauce since whatever came with my chicken was a watery mess.
Not only was my homemade peanut sauce and full of flavor, it heightened my leftovers and saved my wallet from having to purchase another meal while recovering.
TO-THE-RESCUE HOMEMADE PEANUT SAUCE
Serving Size: 1 to 2 large plates
1/2 cup of peanut butter (smooth or chunky); I used chunky
2 tsp. vegetable oil, + more to taste, help thin it out
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (+ more, to taste)
1 large/2 small garlic clove/s, minced
Water, to thin out
Sesame seeds, optional
Start with the peanut butter, a bit of oil, garlic, and a dash of cayenne pepper and mix with a spoon in a small bowl. Taste as you go! The mixture will be thick, so to thin it out you can use some water or oil and if it's too spicy, add a bit of honey to sweeten it up. Be careful adding the oil -- you don't want it too oily. Mix until your desired consistency and taste. Used as a dip, it could be thicker, but as a dressing or sauce you may want to thin it out so it can be poured.
Feel free to guess and check, I didn't measure a lot of the ingredients but whipped this up on a whim; inspired by bad takeout -- make it your own!
Refrigerate any of the leftovers -- I don't know how long it lasts as it didn't stay in my fridge for long.
Tasteful Tip: When you have leftovers that you're sick of simply reheating or weren't keen on it in the first place, don't throw it out! Repurpose it if you can, use fried rice and leftover meat in a soup, shred chicken or beef into tacos, or make a new sauce to spice up an old favorite.