I’ve had Balinese food on my mind ever since a recent dinner at Selamat Pagi, near McGolrick Park. I’m in love with their menu, maybe in part because what they offer is so different than anything else I’ve found in Greenpoint lately—bursting with notes of galangal and lemongrass, spicy and herbaceous, with sweet, funky fish-sauce undertones. These flavors bring me back to Chicago, where I first tasted Lula Café’s Tineka Sandwich, a grown-up, savory take on the classic PB, made with Indonesian-spiced peanut butter and layers of juicy, crunchy, bright vegetables. A memory quickly turned into a craving, and so I created this rough approximation of the Lula original, starting by mixing up a spicy peanut butter, spreading it on whole grain bread, and then topping with some veggies and herbs I had on hand. Easy, delicious, and unusual. If you’re not used to imagining peanut butter without the jelly, it’s time to think outside of the jar. Peanuts are a great base ingredient to build on, and can easily go in directions both sweet and salty (Pad Thai, anyone?). So give this sandwich a chance, tiger.
Did you know? Yes, yes, I’m sure you did know that peanuts are high in protein, but here’s something else that’s thought-provoking. According to the NY Times, the USDA reports that more acres are devoted to growing peanuts in the US than any other fruit or vegetable, but 99% of these peanut-growing practices are conventional (i.e. use pesticides). Considering how many peanut butter sandwiches are consumed daily in the US, just imagine how much of an impact it could make in the marketplace if you buy organic!
And now…it’s peanut butter veggie time.
Spicy Peanut Butter Veggie Sandwich
For the Spicy Peanut Butter:
makes enough for 2-3 sandwiches
4 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
1 jalapeño (seeds removed), minced
1 shallot, minced
1 ½ tsp. yellow miso
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 ½ tsp. sesame oil
1 ½ tsp water
1 tsp. chili garlic paste*
1 tsp. honey
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
Juice of half a lime
*Can be found in Asian section of the market
For the Sandwich:
2 slices whole grain bread
2 leaves lettuce
3 red bell pepper slices
1/4 cucumber, sliced thin, lengthwise
1/4 carrot, sliced thin, lengthwise
a handful of fresh cilantro and/or Thai basil
optional: 2 oz. roast beef, sliced thin (I prefer The Garden’s awesome homemade roast beef, available at their deli counter)
Spread 2 tbsp. Spicy Peanut Butter on a slice of whole grain bread. Then pile on the veggies, fresh herbs, and roast beef (if you choose to use), and top with the second bread slice. Enjoy!
Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg