Pecel with peanut brittle

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A rainbow salad that uses the gado gado peanut dressing in another way. Amber nuggets of sweet-salty-smoky peanut brittle give a wonderful textural contrast.

Ingredients

  • 100 g (3½ oz) butternut squash
  • ¼ purple cabbage
  • 50 g (2 oz) green beans
  • large handful spinach leaves
  • handful beansprouts
  • Peanut dressing
  • 1-2 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 6 quail eggs
  • 8 lemon basil leaves

Peanut brittle

  • oil, for greasing
  • 70 g (⅓ cup) caster sugar
  • 30 g (scant ¼ cup) dark palm sugar (gula jawa), shaved
  • 100 g (⅔ cup) roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Method

Start by making the peanut brittle. Grease a flat surface or chopping board with a little oil. Without stirring, gently heat the sugar in a small pan with 2 tablespoons water and a generous pinch of salt until completely melted. Turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble furiously until it reaches 150°C (302°F) on a sugar thermometer. Quickly stir in the peanuts and sesame seeds and quickly tip onto the greased surface. Use a rolling pin or back of a spoon to press flat. Cut into small cubes and store any extra in an airtight tin.

Prepare the vegetables for the salad. Cut the butternut squash into fat chips. Separate the cabbage into leaves. Slice the green beans into 3 cm (1¼ inch) lengths.

Make the peanut dressing from the Gado gado recipe, then stir in the tamarind paste, which will give a sour edge. Taste and balance the flavours.

Steam the vegetables over boiling water. Add the squash first, cover with a lid and steam for 6 minutes. Add the cabbage leaves and green beans and steam for 4 minutes more, or until everything is tender to a fork. Add the spinach leaves and beansprouts and steam for just about 20 seconds longer, to soften them slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Boil the quail eggs for 2 minutes, then transfer to cold water. Peel off the shells.

Assemble the salad in bowls. First the steamed vegetables, then dollops of the peanut dressing, halved quail eggs, a few pieces of peanut brittle and a final flourish of lemon basil leaves.