Vietnamese Peanut Sauce

Tương đậu phọng

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A harmonious balance of sweet and salty, this sauce takes only minutes to make. It’s the best complement to Nước Chấm with Vietnamese Salad Rolls, but is also delicious slathered on barbecued meats. The traditional version of this sauce is made fermented soybean sauce (tương Bần), yet contemporary use of hoisin sauce in place of that rare ingredient, illustrates the close link between Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. Compared to the long-cooked Malaysian peanut sauce, this is a snap to whip up and much less rich than the Thai coconut-enriched version.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. Minced garlic
  • 1 small Thai bird chili, minced
  • 1 cup Hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup Water
  • 2 tbsp. Rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 1 tbsp. Minced shallot
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass, trimmed and minced
  • ¼ cup Canned coconut milk
  • ½ cup Peanuts, roasted in dry pan
  • 2 tbsp. Vietnamese Chili Sauce (tương ớt/đỏ) or store-bought

Method

  1. Over a medium-low heat cook garlic in oil until aromatic—about 2 minutes. Add chilies, hoisin sauce, water, rice vinegar, shallots, and lemongrass; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat, stir in coconut milk and half of peanuts. Cool to room temperature.
  3. Transfer sauce to dish(s); garnish with remaining chopped peanuts and chili sauce.
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