Having been around the block a few times with various “authentic” peanut sauce recipes that start out with whole raw peanuts and dried shrimp, I’ve long since given up any pretensions of ethnic accuracy and settled on the below recipe since I found it both tasty–with a fine balance between savor, sweet, and spice–and easy. The more traditional recipes I’d undertaken in the past were only on rare occasions tasty or easy– and were never both.
But who knew the search for the perfect peanut sauce was so universal? A surprising number of people zeroed in on the peanut sauce in particular at the Southeast Asian-flava’d baby shower we threw over the weekend. “Where’d you get the recipe?” “Can I have it?”
But of course! I did, however, have to do some post-party forensics to figure out what exactly I did. Rest assured, though, the below recipe is a very faithful recounting… in any event, it’ll be way better than most other recipes out there. Trust me, I’ve tried most of them–clotty, clumpy, oily, gakky, bitter, bland, and tasteless… it’s like a veritable Seven Dwarves of Bad Peanut Sauce out there. Ech.
At the party, I served it up in a bowl surrounded with a variety of crudite and other dippers–a riff on gado gado, an Indonesian salad that usually finds par-cooked long beans, potatoes, hard boiled eggs, and other veggies napped in a delicious blanket of peanutty goodness and topped with emping, those puffy shrimp cracker things.
I used regular green beans, added red radish and jicama sticks, and totally forgot about the emping. C’est la vie. Use whatever veggies you’ve got and it will be delish. I imagine the sauce would also be pretty badass thinned out a bit with water and tossed over chilled rice noodles and shredded cucumber and bell peppers. Just a thought.