Ingen no peanut ae [French Beans with Peanut Dressing]
Source: Lesley Downer/Minoru Yoneda, Step-by-Step Japanese Cooking
- 1/4 c peanuts, roasted
- 1.5 tbs sugar
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 1-2 tbs smooth peanut butter (optional)
- 1-2 tbs Dashi II
- 1.5 tsp dried bonito flakes
If needed, make Dashi II: Wash excess salt off a 2-inch piece of dried kelp (kombu) and 1 tsp dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi). Add to 2 cups of water, and bring just to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the stock is reduced by a third. Turn off heat, and add 1 more tsp of bonito flakes. Allow the stock to settle for a few minutes, then strain.
Wash and trim green beans. Parboil in salted water until just tender. Drain and refresh in cold water. Slice diagonally in 1.5-inch lengths.
Grind peanuts finely. Blend in remaining sauce ingredients, with just enough dashi to make a thick paste. Add sauce to the green beans. Garnish with bonito flakes.
Recipe doesn't call for peanut butter, but I find that adding some helps, especially if you don't fully grind the peanuts.
I've scaled back the Dashi II recipe, and omitted the step of initially making Dashi I (a weaker stock used for clear soups). For Dashi I: place a 4-inch piece of kelp in a pot with 4.5 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat off, add 1 tbs bonito flakes, let settle, then strain, reserving the kelp and bonito to use in Dashi II. The Dashi II recipe calls for 7.5 cups of water with the reserved kelp and bonito (as above), and 1 tbs bonito after the reduction. Dashi II is used for miso soup and most Japanese sauces. For my big Japanese meal, I first made Dashi I, which I used for a clear soup, then Dashi II, which I used for sauces and later made miso soup with the leftover.