Product: San-J Gluten-Free Thai Peanut Sauce – $3.49+
So…as some of you are quite aware…I’m heading out of town in a couple of days. Yep. Got a half marathon that is waiting for me to run it. And, this week is quite a short one…meaning I am doing everything within my power to use up the fresh, local produce I get from my local CSA. Some of it will be fine while I’m gone for a week, but other stuff…such as my veggies…not likely.
This means…it’s time to break out the wok?
I rock the wok. For real! I mean…I haven’t met a veggie yet that I couldn’t throw into a delicious stir-fry and add either rice or rice noodles and some sort of sauce for seasoning and make a fantastic, filling meal out of it. That’s the name of the game this week as I prep to head out of town.
Veggies…meet wok. Wok…meet veggies. Let’s get some dinner made. This is normally what I refer to as “Make-It-Up-As-I-Go-And-Use-Whatever-You-Can” Pad Thai Stir-Fry.” Catchy, yes?
The great thing about a good old-fashioned stir-fry is that my roomie and I can feast off it it for at least three days. Especially with the volume of veggies I was throwing into this wok. Fresh snow peas (every bit of the 10 ounces from my bin), yellow onion, baby carrots (chopped into matchsticks), baby bok choy…oh yes…all of it went in. And then…rice noodles. Delicious rice noodles were added.
But something was missing in my Pad Thai. Oh…yes…SAUCE!
It just so happened that I had purchased a bottle of San-J’s Gluten-Free Thai Peanut Sauce while out at my grocery store one day. I get grand ideas about making things with sauces…and then it never comes to fruition. This one…a pad thai. What was I currently doing with my wok? Making a pad thai. Hmmm…perfect.
So, I gave the bottle a good shake, cracked the seal and poured a liberal amount into the wok to season the veggies and the noodles as they finished up. It smelled absolutely crazy-fantastic. Which is a good thing. Now, I had said aloud to the roomie while we were out grocery shopping that we needed some peanuts for the pad thai, but I didn’t add it to the list and it totally slipped my mind while we hit up all 5 of our usual grocery store haunts (Hey…when you have food allergies…you make an entire day out of it…and for us, it’s either Saturday or Sunday). So, no crunch factor for the dish…but plenty of wholesome veggie goodness with light, thin rice noodles to give it some body.
With the contents of the wok ready to be consumed, I dished us each up a bowl, leaving the rest to sit until I was done eating. Then, I would concern myself with dishing it out into servings for the next two days. Food always comes first. We settled in for dinner with a bowl of my vegetable pad thai and some chopsticks.
I couldn’t wait to take my first bite. It smelled amazing. And…in the end…it disappointed me a little as far as the taste went. It was good. Oh yes…it was good. But I found that the Thai Peanut Sauce was lacking…a lot of peanut flavor. Maybe, if I had been thinking, throwing some peanut butter into the mix might have helped enhance it…but on its own, it was more…steak sauce than peanut sauce. It didn’t take away from the fact that when put into a wok with fresh veggies and rice noodles…it does kick up the flavor more than a notch. It wasn’t bad. I just expected more of a nutty flavor to it…and was a bit surprised by the sweetness factor in this one.
It isn’t spicy…which is good for some, but I like a little heat to my ethnic dishes. But, that isn’t a huge issue for me. I know how to add spice if necessary. For this dish…not really necessary. But I do wish the sauce itself brought a little more heat and nuttiness to the dish. In the end…not blown away, but not completely disappointed either. I definitely intend to play around with the remnants of the bottle in my fridge to see what I can draw out of it…perhaps discover a secret gem to getting that Thai peanut flavor I seek.
I love a lot of things about San-J. Their sauces are gluten-free and amazing. And they always label their bottles so that the words GLUTEN-FREE scream at you. I love that. And I love that they bring so many options to the ethnic sauce selection at grocery stores…because when you are gluten-free…those sauces can be so tricky. It’s good to have a brand name you can trust. For me…that’s San-J. Even if this one lacked a wow factor, you’ll see San-J constantly in my pantry and fridge. It’s a matter of taste…but more importantly…a matter of trust.