Also called groundnut, goober, or monkey nut, the peanut is the seed of a small leguminous plant, so it is strictly a legume and not a nut. Peanuts are rich in protein and monounsaturated fats, and provide reasonable amounts of dietary fiber. They also contain potassium, calcium, magnesium, and many other valuable nutrients.
While most common as a snack food in this country, they are used as major cooking ingredient in many Asian and African dishes, either whole or as a tasty peanut sauce.
Always try to find dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, either whole or as peanut butter, as many popular sources of peanuts are very high in salt and added fats.
The recipe below is from our own cookbook – The Veg-Feasting Cookbook.
Nigerian Groundnut Stew with Tempeh
In Africa, as well as other places, the peanut is known as the groundnut and is a popular ingredient in many appetizing dishes, like this high-protein casserole.
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- 1 pound tempeh, poached (see chef’s tip) and cut into 1-inch dice
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 green bell peppers, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup peanut butter, or more as needed
- 1 cup vegetable broth, or more as needed
- 1 large tomato, peeled and chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup white or brown rice
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh and sauté until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a casserole dish. In the same skillet, cook the onion, bell peppers and garlic until the onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add this to the casserole.
Place the peanut butter in a saucepan and add the broth slowly, stirring to make a thick creamy sauce. Place the saucepan over medium heat, add the tomato, salt and pepper, and simmer gently for 2 minutes; pour over the tempeh and vegetables in the casserole. If the sauce is too thin, add more peanut butter; if it’s too thick, add more stock. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. While the casserole is in the oven, cook the rice according to package directions. Spoon the tempeh casserole over the rice and serve.
Poaching commercially prepared tempeh before using it in a recipe improves its flavor and digestibility. Slice or cube tempeh according to individual recipe, or leave in slabs, depending on use. Place the tempeh in a saucepan, add enough water to cover it and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the tempeh from the water and proceed with the recipe.
Tofu and Jicama Summer Rolls with Sweet and Sour Garlic Sauce
Summer rolls are a Southeast Asian favorite because they’re so refreshing and versatile. Throughout Southeast Asia, from China, Vietnam, Thailand to Malaysia, fresh noodle rolls are different in each country. My version uses jicama and fried garlic for maximum impact in both texture and flavor, and I pair the rolls with a seductively spicy dipping sauce. My summer rolls reflect the influence of my hometown in Thailand, and are prepared without the cooked rice vermicelli found in other versions; however, feel free to add them if you like. Sweet chili sauce is sold at natural food stores and Asian markets…Pranee Halvorsen
- 4 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
- ½ cup chopped garlic (about 2 heads)
- 1 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1/3 cup vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- ¼ cup ground peanuts
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves plus
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat, add the garlic, and fry until light golden brown. Whisk the chili sauce, vinegar, water, peanuts and ¼ cup chopped cilantro in a small bowl to blend. Add 3 tablespoons of the garlic along with some of the cooking oil, then add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- 1 cup jicama, shredded
- 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, julienned (sliced very thin)
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, shredded
- 20 (6-inch diameter) rice paper spring roll wrappers
To make the rolls, place the remaining garlic and oil in a small bowl. Have the jicama, bell pepper, carrot, tofu and 1 cup cilantro leaves ready in separate bowls. Select a saucepan with a diameter slightly larger than the spring roll wrappers, add water to a depth of 1 inch, bring it to a boil, and then keep it simmering over medium-low heat. One at a time, place each spring roll wrapper in the water for 5 seconds then remove and set it on a plate.
Place some of the jicama, bell pepper, carrot, tofu and cilantro on the lower third of the spring roll, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle a little of the garlic over the vegetables. Bring the bottom edge of the spring roll up and over the filling, then tuck in the sides and continue rolling until completely wrapped.
Repeat with the remaining rolls. Cut the rolls in half and serve with the sauce.