Tuesday, January 6, 2009
PEANUT SATAY SAUCE
I don't make this sauce very often because of the peanuts in it. Hubby and I are trying to avoid clogging our arteries so... But it's a very good sauce to go with satay (obviously) but also with nasi impit (compressed rice) and ketupat nasi (rice packed in coconut leaves), with fried soya bean curds and also vegetables, some raw and some blanched. When dribbled over vegetables the dish becomes a very tasty salad called, in Malay, gado-gado (fight-fight)...literally translated. :D
So this is a very versatile sauce and if you're really out of anything you could just use it as a dip for some crunchy cucumbers, celery, carrots, fish or prawn crackers, nachos, you name it. It's very very yummy. In fact I think it's just a spicy version of the western peanut butter but just a tad more saucy, as in sauce.
Some like their peanuts ground finely and some like it coarse. It's all a matter of taste. Just like in smooth and crunchy peanut butter! But whatever way you make it it's definitely going to be good and a crowd pleaser.
I made it just now and when I thought it was done and tasted it I felt that there was something that was really missing. I just wasn't satisfied. It was ok but it definitely did not make me jump up and down. So I did what most people would do. No, I didn't call my mother. I googled. and I saw some versions of this recipe that used coriander powder. I thought coriander powder seemed so right so I added 2 teaspoons of coriander powder to the sauce, cooked it a while longer and that just made so much difference! It jumped from a 5 to a..... well, I'd like to say ten or even a nine but I'm sure there are some better ones out there, so I'll just say a modest 8 1/2.
So here's the recipe :
About 1 1/4 cups ground peanuts, a little more if you want your sauce slightly thicker,
3 medium sized large red onions, I used ones the size of ping pong balls,
4 garlic cloves
1 lemon grass, sliced
4-6 dried chillies, chopped up
The above ingredients except the peanuts are to be blended with a little water until it becomes a thick and fine mush,
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 inch galangal/lengkuas, bruised
1 cup coconut milk of medium consistency, like fresh milk,
2 heaped tsp tamarind paste/asam jawa mixed with 1/2 cup water and the juice strained,
1 tsp sweet soy sauce
5-6 tsp palm sugar or white sugar
salt to taste
Heat up 1/4 cup of oil and saute the ground spices, put in the ground coriander and the bruised galangal. Saute it for about 7-8 minutes over a slow fire until fragrant and the oil rises to the top. Add the coconut milk, tamarind juice, sugar, salt soy sauce and lastly the ground peanuts. Stir to mix well and simmer over a low fire until the oil rises to the top again. Adjust the amount of peanuts according to your preference. A little more for a thicker sauce and a little less for a thinner sauce. Taste for salt. Done.
TIP : Adjust the amount of chillies according to your heat tolerance. Since everyone of us at home have different chillie heat tolerance levels I used my Sambal Tumis to top up one of the bowls of sauce for those who prefer it spicier.
TIP : Watch the sauce as it cooks. It can burn easily if you are making it quite thick. If you find at the end that it is too thick just add some water to thin it down.
TIP : Even if you would like your sauce to be crunchy I would suggest that you still grind or pound half of the amount of peanuts finely so that the sauce has a creamy base while the coarser bits will give the texture and crunch.