Aji de Mani (aka Spicy Peanut Sauce)
Adapted from "Aji de Mani" (Peanut Hot Sauce), from mycolumbianrecipes.com
1 cup Truly Good Foods Buffalo Nuts, roasted (see below)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 scallions/green onions, chopped (green parts only)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, lightly packed
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic (jarred)
1/4 teaspoon Sazon seasoning
1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon cumin, depending on taste
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce, divided
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon corn starch
Salt to taste (1/2 - 1 teaspoon, depending on your preference)
First, roast the nuts. Preheat your oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl gently mix the 1 cup of Truly Good Foods Buffalo Nuts with the olive oil. Stir to coat the nuts completely. When the oven is heated, spread the nuts on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 7-8 minutes, shaking/stirring once during the cooking time. Remove the nuts from the oven at 8 minutes, even if you think they are not fully done. They will continue to cook as they rest, and if they burn they will become bitter. Allow them to cool completely, at least 20-30 minutes.
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes (until it begins to pop). Reduce heat to medium-low and add the scallions/green onions and cilantro. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. When the mixture is reduced and fragrant, remove from heat, set aside, and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
After allowing the cooked ingredients to cool, add the nuts, the cilantro/scallion mixture, the garlic, Sazon, cumin, salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of Sriracha to a blender. Process for about 20-30 seconds (maybe more, depending on your blender) until a fine paste is formed. There will be small "dots" of peanuts in the sauce, but overall it should have an even consistency. Pour the mixture into a small sauce pot and heat over medium-low for about 15 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Remove from heat, set aside, and let cool (this is also a good stopping point if you want to pre-make the sauce for another time...just store it in the fridge).
While the sauce is cooling, Mix the one Tablespoon of water with the corn starch to form a slurry. Add extra Sriracha, to taste, if you would like just a little more kick. When sauce is cool, add the slurry mixture and gently reheat over low heat. Taste and adjust seasoning (add more salt, pepper, Sriracha to your liking). As sauce heats with the slurry mix, it will gradually thicken. When thick enough for your use, remove from heat and carefully use an immersion blender to break up any remaining pieces of peanuts or other lumps that might be in the sauce (you could also return the sauce to the blender and give it one more round of blending if you prefer).
At this point, you can use the sauce as a topping for various meats or vegetables. You can also add it to dips or other appetizers for a unique flavor. Honestly, just get creative! It will last in the fridge for at least 2 weeks, so take your time and experiment. I do hope that you enjoy it as much as my family did!
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