The classic Javanese spicy peanut sauce.
Make it up in large batches because it will stay fresh in or out of the
refrigerator for weeks. Then mix a few tablespoons with warm water
whenever you want some gado-gado or nasi pecel.
1½ cup raw peanuts
10 small red chilis
2 large red chilis
2 tsp asem tua [mature tamarind]
6 lime leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 thumb-sized pieces of kencur
2 tsp salt
about ¼ cup gula jawa [palm sugar]
Makes about 1½ cups paste
- Fry peanuts in oil for about 3 minutes
- Crush peanuts to a fine powery paste in a lemper
- Remove peanut mixture to a separate container
- Crush remaining ingredients in a lemper
- Add peanuts and mix well.
American notes: There are a number of
shorts cuts to this recipe. Published cookbooks often use peanut
butter, which simply doesn't work very well, although if you use
African peanut butter (from a west-African store), the result is
better, maybe because of the variety of peanuts. There
are also packaged gado-gado or bumbu pecel mixes which you just add a
little boiling water to.
These tend to be very hot and sweet, since chilis and sugar can be used
to bulk out an otherwise undistinguished mixture. I don't recommend any
of the powders, but some of the small compressed cakes aren't hopeless,
although the homemade is easy enough and very much better.