There are many recipes for peanut sauce, but this is my favorite. If you have some crisp-fried shallots, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons on the sauce just before serving.
Makes about 500 ml (16 fl oz/2 cups)
- 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) peanut oil
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced, or 2 teaspoons dried garlic flakes
- 1 medium-sized onion, sliced thinly or 2 tablespoons dried onion slices
- 3 large dried red chillies
- 1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste (blacan)
- 1 tablespoon tamarind pure or lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 375 g (12 oz) extra crunchy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar
Heat the oil in a small wok over gentle heat. It should not be too hot. If using dried garlic flakes, put them in a fine wire strainer and lower into the oil for a few seconds just until they turn pale golden. Lift out and drain on absorbent paper. This is the only way to fry dried garlic without burning it. Do the same with the dried onion slices as they will also burn if left too long in the oil. If using fresh onion and garlic, fry, stirring, until golden, then lift out on a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper until cool and crisp. Fry the dried chillies until they puff and turn almost black. Drain and cool, then discard the stems and crumble the chillies into small pieces
In the same oil, fry the shrimp paste, crushing it with the frying spoon. Add the tamarind and the soy sauce and stir to dissolve the shrimp paste. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter until well combined. When the sauce is cold, mix in the garlic, onion, chilli and sugar. This mixture is too thick to pour. When required, stir in enough water or coconut milk to give a spooning or pouring consistency. Taste and add salt or extra sugar if necessary. This sauce may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and used as required.
When time is short, stir 2 tablespoons of Charmaine Solomon’s Rendang Curry Paste into 6 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter and thin to a pouring consistency with cold water and/or canned coconut milk. My Rendang Curry Paste has more spices in it than this recipe for Peanut Sauce, but it tastes remarkably good. For texture, stir in 2 tablespoons of crisply fried shallots. In Asian stores, you can buy these already fried.