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Steamed Veggies with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Updated on September 23, 2013

Pitjil, a Javanese vegetable dish

I am not a vegetarian, but grew up eating more vegetables than meat or fish per meal and I still love my daily veggies.

One of the easiest, simplest and probably healthiest vegetable dishes I know, is the Javanese "Pitjil" (Pecel), steamed vegetables with spicy peanut sauce.

What is Pitjil?

Steamed vegetables served with spicy peanut sauce, make the otherwise bland vegetables a lot more enjoyable to eat. This virtually fat free Asian "salad" can be eaten on it's own or as a side dish.

Origins

Java is one of the Indonesian islands and to keep things simple, I'm calling this a Javanese dish because that's my family's background. Pitjil as I know it, is served in countries and homes with ties to Indonesia (The Netherlands, Suriname, etc.)

In daily Javanese cooking, vegetables are seldom mixed and this dish used to be served on special occasions such as holidays or parties. It is also sold at food stands on the side of the road and in restaurants in the countries mentioned above.

Peanut sauce

The secret weapon of this dish is the peanut sauce or peanut sambal, available in Asian stores or markets. For the best (fresh) flavor you can make your own sauce, although it takes a bit more time to prepare than the store-bought version. Making your own sauce also gives you more control over the level of spiciness (heat). Click the link for a peanut sauce recipe.

Peanut Sauce

Jade All-Natural Sichuan Peanut Sauce, 13.5 oz.
Jade All-Natural Sichuan Peanut Sauce, 13.5 oz.

Voted Best Peanut Sauce by the SF Chronicle

 

The Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 green cabbage

1 lb green beans (haricot verts)

1/2 lb bean sprouts (fresh)

1 cup peanut sauce

1/2 tsp salt

2 ltr water

Cut the cabbage in big chunks, or 1/2 inch slices (this depends on your preference). The green beans may be fresh or frozen, cut or whole (I like mine whole). Rinse vegetables.

Steaming vegetables

Boil the water with some salt, add the cabbage, stir for even cooking. When the water starts bubbling again, remove the cabbage and rinse with cold water. Follow the same procedure for the green beans and bean sprouts (dip in boiling water for 3 minutes), cooking each separately.

This method of cooking vegetables is called “blanching” and because the vegetables are not overcooked, they will maintain most of their nutrients.

Arrange the vegetables in a dish and serve with the peanut sauce on the side.

Pitjil Photo Gallery - Steamed Vegetables with Peanut Sauce

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Steamed vegetables (green beans, cabbage and bean sprouts)Dry peanut sauce (add hot water to make sauce)Pitjil with peanut sambal (steamed veggies with spicy peanut sauce)Pitjil from food stand along the road, wrapped in banana or other leavesPitjil wrapped in leaves. Bon Apetit!
Steamed vegetables (green beans, cabbage and bean sprouts)
Steamed vegetables (green beans, cabbage and bean sprouts)
Dry peanut sauce (add hot water to make sauce)
Dry peanut sauce (add hot water to make sauce)
Pitjil with peanut sambal (steamed veggies with spicy peanut sauce)
Pitjil with peanut sambal (steamed veggies with spicy peanut sauce)
Pitjil from food stand along the road, wrapped in banana or other leaves
Pitjil from food stand along the road, wrapped in banana or other leaves
Pitjil wrapped in leaves. Bon Apetit!
Pitjil wrapped in leaves. Bon Apetit!

Fresh vs. Frozen Vegetables

Which is healthier? Market Fresh or Frozen vegetables?

See results

Want to know more about Peanut Sauce?

I can write a whole lens about peanut sauce, but I'm sharing my favorite links instead.

Food processors - To make your own peanut sauce

BLACK+DECKER 8-Cup Food Processor, Black, FP1600B
BLACK+DECKER 8-Cup Food Processor, Black, FP1600B

I have used lots of Black & Decker kitchen appliances. They're good and affordable.

 

Share with us how you used peanut sauce on your food

Do you like spicy food? - Have you tried peanut sauce before?

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    • theJavaGirl profile image
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      Debbie 3 years ago from Atlanta

      @tonyleather: Tony, I think it would be okay to spoon it on since the steamed veggies are fat free. But I totally get it because sometime I just eat a teaspoon without anything :)

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      I might like peanut sauce, but I bet my waistline would like it way too much for me to really enjoy it!

    • theJavaGirl profile image
      Author

      Debbie 3 years ago from Atlanta

      @Meganhere: Thanks!

    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 3 years ago

      I love it and hot peanut sauce is my favourite.

    • theJavaGirl profile image
      Author

      Debbie 3 years ago from Atlanta

      @Johanna Eisler: Making your own peanut sauce will take the most time, but steaming the veggies will be quick. Let us know how it went.

    • theJavaGirl profile image
      Author

      Debbie 3 years ago from Atlanta

      @Diana Wenzel: Thanks for your comment. I hope you'll come back to tell us how you liked it :)

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

      I love this style of food with peanut sauce. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe. I'm going to make it and I know I will love the flavor.

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 3 years ago

      Mmmmmm, yes! But I've never made my own. I am eager to try it!

    • theJavaGirl profile image
      Author

      Debbie 3 years ago from Atlanta

      @somebudiesangel2: Thanks!

    • theJavaGirl profile image
      Author

      Debbie 3 years ago from Atlanta

      @WeeCatCreations1: Me too :)

    • somebudiesangel2 profile image

      Tami-Lynn 3 years ago from North Vancouver

      love it!

    • WeeCatCreations1 profile image

      Susan Caplan McCarthy 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Love love love peanut sauce!

    • theJavaGirl profile image
      Author

      Debbie 3 years ago from Atlanta

      @kristalulabelle: If your husband likes peanuts and spicy food, he'll love this. If it wasn't for peanut sauce or hotsauce, my brother-in-law would not eat vegetables as much.

    • theJavaGirl profile image
      Author

      Debbie 3 years ago from Atlanta

      @Margaret Schindel: Peanut sauce goes with many things. Besides vegetables, we use it on grilled meat, fried (ripe) plantain beignets, sprinkled over rice, and the Dutch even eat it with French fries :)

      You are right about the store-bought, they just don't taste as good as freshly made!

      How do you make yours?

    • theJavaGirl profile image
      Author

      Debbie 3 years ago from Atlanta

      @writerkath: I do too and sometimes I even sprinkle the dry version on my food!

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 3 years ago

      I love peanut sauce!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 years ago from Massachusetts

      I love making cold noodles with peanut sauce. I've never found a store-bought brand I liked, but it's so easy to make my own that that's what I do. My nephew came up with his own recipe and it's delish. :D

    • kristalulabelle profile image

      Kristen 3 years ago from Wisconsin

      I have not tried peanut sauce yet, but I definitely want to! Sounds delish! May even get my hubby to eat more vegetables this way!