Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Savory Granola and Sriracha Bean Dip

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Because some recipes are so weird I just HAVE to try them.  My curiosity always gets the better of me.

Two recipes again this week, one that was okay but not really my thing and one I would make again.  I'm fooling around with the formatting on these posts so you will need to click "Wait, there's more! Click to keep reading..." at the bottom to see the rest.

I've always wanted to try making savory granola, but never got around to coming up with a recipe.  I was thinking more along the lines of tomato basil or lemon rosemary but then I saw this recipe for Thai Peanut Granola.  I made of few substitutions (of course) so I wouldn't exactly call it Thai but it was definitely savory as opposed to sweet.  The end result had more of an Asian flavor profile.

The granola had a nice crunch without being too hard and was dry enough that it wasn't soggy or chewy.  It held together in a few small clumps but was mostly individual oats.  I used a dark soy sauce which indecently made the granola was much darker than your typical granola. It almost looked like a chocolate granola, but it sure didn't taste like one. Overall I thought it was a bit too salty and the soy sauce flavor was a little too strong.  The heat from the sriracha was just enough to be noticeable, but not enough to make it obviously spicy.  The peanut flavor was noticeable whenever you got a peanut along with the oats, but was otherwise overpowered by the soy sauce, as were the ginger and garlic flavors.

I would suggest cutting back on the soy sauce or using a reduced-sodium variety.  The soy sauce I used was from an Asian food store and was very dark and thick.  Next time I would use the typical American grocery store type soy sauce.  I would also add more oats (around 2 cups total) since the coating to oat ratio seemed pretty high.  All of these things would help tone down the soy sauce flavor a bit. In addition, I would double the rice wine vinegar, add more fresh ginger and maybe a hint more garlic.  If you really want an Asian flair I imagine sesame seeds and 1/4 tsp sesame oil would be just about right.  But that's up to you, I tried this once and I'm already onto the next thing.

While you have your soy sauce and sriracha out you have to try this dip.  Okay, I actually didn't make these back to back, but you could whip this up while the granola is in the oven.  (Speaking of granola again, I tried another savory granola/ trail mix recipe that involved red lentils and split peas.  It looked  really pretty, but it wasn't worth the tweaking efforts it would take to improve the taste and texture.)  This bean dip, on the other hand, is definitely a recipe I would make again.  Its great as a veggie dip, chip dip, or a spread for crackers, wraps or sandwiches. You could even thin it out and use it as a pasta sauce if you're feeling extra weird.  It  kind of reminds me of Chinese take-out, but in a healthy bean dip.

This dip turned out a little darker than re-fried beans (I used that extra dark soy sauce again). It was just the right consistency for a dip, but you can adapt the amount of liquid depending on how you plan to use it.  I would suggest starting with 2 tablespoons of water and adding more liquid (either water or more lime juice) 1 Tbsp at at time. As far as flavors go the dip has a strong sesame flavor balanced with the soy sauce notes.  Immediately after the sesame, your tongue is hit with chili flavor and a medium heat.  This is followed by a hint of lime and then the garlic comes through.

After snapping these pictures, I realized the dip really doesn't go with carrots. I would have tried it before the picture, but I had already eaten so much of the dip I barely had enough left to fill the bowl, oops.  The celery was okay, but if you're going the veggie route try red and green bell pepper strips, snap peas and maybe cucumber slices.  If you're not into veggies then use a good crusty bread, tortilla chips or crackers.  Or just a spoon if you don't plan to share.

One last thing, you should buy some sriracha if you don't already have it.  I just discovered it a few months ago when I made this Asian slaw.  Why did I not start using this sooner?!?!?! The best part about it is you can add more or less depending on how hot you like it.  It will likely be appearing in quite a few of the recipes I try in the near future.  I might be on a hot sauce kick. You have been warned.

Asian Peanut Granola (see comments above for suggestions) 
adapted from A Stool at the Counter

1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter, melted
1-1/2 tsp sriracha hot chili sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp canola oil
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger root
1-1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
* In a medium bowl, combine melted peanut butter, hot sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, oil, garlic and ginger.  Stir in oats and peanuts until even coated.
* Spread onto a greased baking sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, stirring twice, or until granola just begins to  dry and crisp.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Granola will continue to crisp and harden as it cools.

Spicy Asian Sriracha Dip
slightly adapted from White On Rice Couple

1 large clove garlic
1 (15 oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed (I used Great Northern beans)
1 tsp sesame oil (this is very important for flavor, don't substitute another oil)
1-1/2 tsp soy sauce
1-1/2 Tbsp sriracha hot chili sauce
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup water (use more or less depending on desired thickness)
1-1/2 Tbsp lime juice

* Place garlic clove in food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
* Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. (Or until desired consistency is achieved)  Serve with vegetables or crackers or use as a sandwich spread.

Food for Thought: "Don't ever change yourself to impress someone, because they should be impressed that you don't change to please others." -unknown

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