Peanut sauce is a big deal in Indonesia, and in our house. For a lighter, fragrant version see the Gado gado peanut dressing, but it’s this, its dark and intense cousin, that I turn to for Chicken sate. The peanuts are cooked twice, first to brown and secondly to caramelise to stickiness in the sauce. Simple but loud flavours.
Fry the peanuts to bring out their toasty flavour. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan over a high heat. When shimmering, add the nuts and stir-fry for a minute. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to fry, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until the nuts are deep golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Tip the nuts into a food processor (keep the skins on) with the garlic, shrimp paste, palm sugar and a good pinch of salt. Blitz to a sandy rubble, then scrape the sides and process for another minute. Continue scraping and blitzing for a few minutes at a time until you have a smooth puree (it should get there, with some perseverance).
Transfer the peanut butter to a saucepan, add the kecap manis and a small glassful of water. Cook over a medium-high heat, stirring often, until you have a sauce that is dark and slightly sticky. Thin with more water if it gets too thick - you want it to thickly coat the sate but be just pourable. Leave to cool and taste for seasoning, adjusting the saltiness and sweetness if you like. A final spritz of lime juice will brighten the flavours.
© 2019 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.