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Peanut sauce

I made sate tonight; the topside we'd turned into steaks was a little too tough, so cubing and marinading it made sense. We had a pineapple in the fruit bowl and I like a pineapple, tomato and cucmber salad with sate. And we cracked the last jar of penang peanut sauce, which means we need to find a replacement.

My standards for peanut sauce are high. I'm not talking orange sticky gloop made with peanut butter. The peanut sauce I crave is discrete chunks of roasted peanuts thickening a sauce that drips off the spoon. It's dark brown, rich and sweet and tangy; a little gritty at the bottom of the bowl. I can taste it exactly, over ten years since I last ate it (Tony and Ethel who ran Munchy Munchy in Oxford retired to Seattle and I haven't yet spotted them in Whole Foods) but I don't know what all the flavours in it are. Not as richly sweet as hoi sin, not as biting as soy sauce. I think it may be tamarind. Most of the recipes I've seen have tamarind and chili and palm sugar or brown sugar, ginger and lemon grass, garlic and galangal or sometimes dried shrimp. Some have fish sauce and lime juice and curry paste. The version I'm after doesn't have coconut milk. Time for some grinding and stirring.



( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
30th Aug, 2006 08:33 (UTC)
Mmmmm... Sounds yummy!
30th Aug, 2006 17:29 (UTC)
Hmm. My recipe *does* include coconut milk, I'm afraid, but you're welcome to it if you want to give it a go. You may have even tried some recently, I made a batch to go with the chickeny skewery things at the party...

As you start with actual peanuts, you can control the grinding process. I use the bowl and bonker, and hold back about 1/3rd of the nuts until later in the process to give bigger chunks... or you can blitz them but then you get a smoother sauce. :)

2nd Sep, 2006 22:22 (UTC)
please - I remember it as being very nice and I can always try it without the coconut milk. It's taken me a long time to work out you meant pestle and daughter ;-)
5th Sep, 2006 11:37 (UTC)
I doubt you can just leave out the Cmilk - but it's up to you. :-)

150g salted roasted peanuts. Crush to your pref. As I mentioned, we crunch about 2/3s up really quite small then add the rest so the last 1/3 is more chunky and crunchy in the resulting sauce.

2 tablespoons thau red curry paste - make your own or... we find Sainsbury's to be pretty darn good and Bart's to be not bad. Blue Dragon, not quite so good.

1 440cl can coconut milk.

3 tablespoons brown sugar - we use demerara, but I think palm sugar would be more "authentic" if you can get it.

1tsp salt

3 tablespoons rice vinegar.

Heat some oil in a pan and fry off the curry paste until it browns. WARNING - noxious fumes you may prefer not to breath. :-)

Stir in the coconut milk, and simmer for about a minute, then add peanuts, sugar, salt, and vinegar.

Simmer for about 15 mins until it goes creamy. (The smaller peanut bits will emulsify with the fluids.)

Taste and adjust. More peanuts if it's too thin (but it will thicken up as the emulsification happens). More paste if it isn't zingy enough. More sugar or coconut milk if it's too zingy. More coconut milk if it's too stodgy. A little more vinegar if it seems to be "missing something".

31st Aug, 2006 17:02 (UTC)
Here's mine:

1/2 cup peanut butter
3 Tbs lemon juice
3 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs honey
2 tsp ginger root, grated
2 garlic cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup water

Whirl ginger root and garlic cloves in food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and whirl until smooth.

For those discrete chunks of roasted peanuts, leave some out of the food processor and add at the end, or just don't whirl until completely smooth.
2nd Sep, 2006 22:24 (UTC)
That sounds a good balance between ingredients and simplicity - thanks! Simon found a peanut butter that's only peanuts, which might give a good result - I might try that with whole peanuts. Does it come out spoon or fork consistency?
3rd Sep, 2006 04:08 (UTC)
It's been awhile since I've made it, so I was inspired by your question to make it tonight, using it as a sauce for stir-fried vegies and chicken over rice. Very yummy! I'd say spoon consistency to get the last drop in the bowl, but it works fine with a fork, sticking to the vegies and chicken. Not soup-like, thicker than that.
29th Oct, 2006 21:07 (UTC)
Munchy Munchy
Great to hear about Tony and Ethel - I remember their peanut sauce vividly. If you see them in Whole Foods, say hi from Tony and Naomi!
5th Aug, 2012 19:17 (UTC)
munchy munchy
wow! I loved ethels satay sauce and all her dishes at munchy munchy,I have also tried to replicate it to no avail!! would love to track her down and get the recipe!!!
5th Aug, 2012 19:19 (UTC)
Re: munchy munchy
somewhere in Seattle I guess ;-)
5th Aug, 2012 19:36 (UTC)
Re: munchy munchy
oh god I'd KILL for one of her meals again,have googled and facebooked her but no luck...what was your closest recipe to hers?
5th Aug, 2012 19:37 (UTC)
Re: munchy munchy
the comment above is pretty close, but with galangal as well
5th Aug, 2012 20:11 (UTC)
the one by ccomely or spirit moving or you?thanks,glad Im not the only one who thought it was AMAAAZING!!! we ate there every friday night in the 80s before heading to Raouls...Ethel shouting at everyone!!!
5th Aug, 2012 20:15 (UTC)
actually, the closest one might be in this other thread. http://marypcb.livejournal.com/64840.html?thread=1365320#t1365320

I'll copy it across so we have them all together.

Tony never wanted us to order sate; he wanted us to have the other dishes so he'd just bring a dish of peanut sauce so we'd order other things ;-)

"I loved that restaurant too. Between 1981 and when they closed, I went every week - sometimes twice. When they left to go to Seattle, they left a cavern in my life that has never been filled. I found your post, hoping the secret of their peanut sauce had been deposited in cyberspace - fat chance.

Here is the closest I have ever got to recreating it:

Roast some skinned unsalted peanuts.

Fry chilli sauce in oil (I used Thai red curry paste from M+S).

Add tamarind water and palm sugar to the oil.

Grind roasted peanuts (when they have turned a good brown). Add to liquid.

Adjust flavour by adding dark soy , roasted sessame oil, shrimp paste and more palm sugar if needed.

Sorry there are no quantities. On reflection some garlic might help it along in the chilli-frying stage.

I wonder if Ethel Owe ever wrote a recipe book?

Munchy maniac - York"
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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Mary Branscombe
Simon & Mary

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