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Peanut Sauce


Shel_B
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I enjoy peanut sauce, and so does Toots, though not as much as I. There are a few recipes in my collection, but, over the years, I've made 'em all more than once, and it would be nice to expand my repertoire. I've cruised the 'net, and not found too many that were of interest - just one or two, really, and I've only come across one recipe here on eGullet which, sorry to say, didn't do much for me.

So, does anyone have a favorite peanut sauce recipe? It can be Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, or whatever. It would be great to get some new ideas or recipes, especially with some interesting ingredients. Thanks so much!

 ... Shel


 

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Here's the history of the dish, page two has a pretty good recipe.

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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Here's the history of the dish, page two has a pretty good recipe.

That seems to be about the sauce used for Dan-dan noodles made in a certain old-time style particularly for a certain (NYC) "take-out" style? It doesn't seem to go into the history of peanut sauces in general, through the various regional and national cuisines?

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Shel_B, have you tried looking for SATAY sauces?

Here's one, "Malaysian style": http://rasamalaysia.com/malaysian-sataynow-with-peanut-sauce/2/

There are many variations even in Malaysia, of course, including the sauces made by Malay (an ethnic group) vendors, who are Muslim, which are usually spicy-hot; and sauces made by Malaysian-Chinese vendors, who are usually not Muslim, which may or may not be spicy-hot. Naturally, many of them would be closely-guarded "family secrets". :-)

Here's a Peranakan (Nyonya) recipe for satay sauce from "Irenes' Peranakan Recipes": http://www.epigrambooks.sg/wp-content/uploads/HERIT_Irene_Sample.pdf (this is the "View Sample" link on the webpage for the book I just gave; go to page 33, shown as "P33" in the pdf file)

Here's a Thai-style variation: http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaicurrypasterecipes/r/Easy-Satay-Sauce-Recipe.htm

There are lots more out there.

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Shel_B, have you tried looking for SATAY sauces?

Here's one, "Malaysian style": http://rasamalaysia.com/malaysian-sataynow-with-peanut-sauce/2/

There are many variations even in Malaysia, of course, including the sauces made by Malay (an ethnic group) vendors, who are Muslim, which are usually spicy-hot; and sauces made by Malaysian-Chinese vendors, who are usually not Muslim, which may or may not be spicy-hot. Naturally, many of them would be closely-guarded "family secrets". :-)

Here's a Peranakan (Nyonya) recipe for satay sauce from "Irenes' Peranakan Recipes": http://www.epigrambooks.sg/wp-content/uploads/HERIT_Irene_Sample.pdf (this is the "View Sample" link on the webpage for the book I just gave; go to page 33, shown as "P33" in the pdf file)

Here's a Thai-style variation: http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaicurrypasterecipes/r/Easy-Satay-Sauce-Recipe.htm

There are lots more out there.

I'm familiar with the Rasa Malaysia site, but not this recipe - Thanks!

My security software tells me that Irene's site is a security risk so I'm not going there.

The Thaifood.about.com recipe looks interesting. Might be worth a try, although it looks similar to one that I already have used - which isn't bad at all.

Thanks for the pointers.

 ... Shel


 

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You're welcome.

The website for Irene's Peranakan Recipes is on the website of Epigram books, a legitimate publishing company in Singapore (the .sg is the domain name for Singapore). Odd that your browser says it is a security risk. Pity, as the recipe looks very nice. No, I can't put it here, of course, because of copyright issues.

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Shel -- I have a great indonesian peanut sauce recipe that includes red curry paste, coconut milk, and breadcrumbs to thicken it. But it looks like I left the recipe at my summer house and won't be back there for a little while. This looks like it is going in the same general direction as the recipe I've used, though the proportions are a little different (I think mine used more peanut butter, and added chicken broth, but then thickened with the breadcrumbs)... http://www.delish.com/recipefinder/indonesian-peanut-sauce-recipe

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Shel -- I have a great indonesian peanut sauce recipe that includes red curry paste, coconut milk, and breadcrumbs to thicken it. But it looks like I left the recipe at my summer house and won't be back there for a little while. This looks like it is going in the same general direction as the recipe I've used, though the proportions are a little different (I think mine used more peanut butter, and added chicken broth, but then thickened with the breadcrumbs)... http://www.delish.com/recipefinder/indonesian-peanut-sauce-recipe

Thanks for the pointer. I DL'd and filed the recipe.

 ... Shel


 

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The first peanut sauce I ever made--and still a personal favorite--was a simple Indonesian recipe from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's cookbook, Thrill of the Grill. Over the years, I've made others and it took me a while to figure out why their recipe stood out:

It calls for roasted, unsalted peanuts, not peanut butter. And since at the time, I could only find roasted salted peanuts, I bought plain, unsalted peanuts and toasted them myself in the oven for a bit, shaking the tray occasionally to toast them somewhat evenly. For a few minutes of easy work, there's a big difference in flavor as well as texture.

Sure, I use peanut butter now and then, but if I really want my guests to fight over the last of the peanut sauce, I roast the peanuts myself.

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The first peanut sauce I ever made--and still a personal favorite--was a simple Indonesian recipe from Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's cookbook, Thrill of the Grill. Over the years, I've made others and it took me a while to figure out why their recipe stood out:

It calls for roasted, unsalted peanuts, not peanut butter.

Yes, that's a good recipe. There are several others that also use fresh, roasted peanuts. Bruce Cost made a killer peanut sauce using such an ingredient, although, in at least one of his recipes for peanut sauce, he deep fried the fresh peanuts.

 ... Shel


 

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There are also the Ecuadorian peanut sauces. Encocado is probably the best one; it's a blend of 1:3 peanut paste:coconut milk with a dash of mild yellow "curry" (the Ecuadorian curry powders are most similar to chat masala, but if you've got access to a Latin market so much the better - look for "sazonador amarillo"....) Shrimp are generally poached in this.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I used unsweetned coconut milk instead of water. I also found that I about doubled the amount of water(coconut milk) to thin out the sauce. I also used natural crunchy peanut butter from Trader Joe's. I doubled the amount of chili paste and sugar too. I also added Sriracha sauce to taste. It was so yummy that I could drink it. Thanks for the base recipe!

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I'd like to add to the chorus about fresh roasted peanuts, they are incrementally better than store-bought. Also, you can make your own peanut butter using an immersion blender in steel cup like a measuring cup or milkshake machine cup. Making your own, if you just roasted the peanuts, tastes a LOT better and you don't have to worry about storage, just make what you need at the time.

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And I'd like to add to the discussion that in sauces that call for coconut milk, fresh is always going to be better than canned. If you can get a whole young coconut where you are, throw it in the blender (in small chunks) with the coconut water that's in it, and hey presto - coconut milk, which if you let sit will develop a layer of coconut cream on top.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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I'd like to add to the chorus about fresh roasted peanuts, they are incrementally better than store-bought. Also, you can make your own peanut butter using an immersion blender in steel cup like a measuring cup or milkshake machine cup. Making your own, if you just roasted the peanuts, tastes a LOT better and you don't have to worry about storage, just make what you need at the time.

OK, roasting your own peanuts makes sense, as does making many things from good, fresh ingredients. So, what's the best way to roast peanuts? Are there some types of peanuts that are a better choice for roasting and which are a good choice for peanut sauce? Roast in the shell or not? Add oil or salt, or not? How done should they be - lightly roasted, deeply roasted and crunchy, somewhere in between? Instructions I found on the 'net are all over the place.

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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It's a matter of taste, Shel - what I like to do is boil fresh peanuts in shell, in a bit of salted water, then strain, pat dry, shell husk and dry roast in my cast iron pan until they're a medium brown, slightly crunchy, and smell really peanutty and yum. Not going until they're fully crunchy makes sure they still have enough oils and moisture in 'em to mash up well for paste/butter as a base for peanut sauces.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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A lot of times, I am lazy and buy the shelled, blanched ones without skins at the natural market. I then just toss them on a sheet pan and put them in the oven for about 6 minutes. No salt. If I am serving them to just be eaten as is, I salt as they come out of the oven as they get oily as the cook and the salt (popcorn salt, which I make in my blender) will stick. Salt beforehand won't stick unless you wet the nuts with water or oil, etc.

They do taste pretty good when lightly oiled and pan cooked, for me the oven method makes more volume and has less chance of burning -I can do other things, don't have to watch them.

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A lot of times, I am lazy and buy the shelled, blanched ones without skins at the natural market. I then just toss them on a sheet pan and put them in the oven for about 6 minutes. No salt. If I am serving them to just be eaten as is, I salt as they come out of the oven as they get oily as the cook and the salt (popcorn salt, which I make in my blender) will stick. Salt beforehand won't stick unless you wet the nuts with water or oil, etc.

They do taste pretty good when lightly oiled and pan cooked, for me the oven method makes more volume and has less chance of burning -I can do other things, don't have to watch them.

It's a matter of taste, Shel - what I like to do is boil fresh peanuts in shell, in a bit of salted water, then strain, pat dry, shell husk and dry roast in my cast iron pan until they're a medium brown, slightly crunchy, and smell really peanutty and yum. Not going until they're fully crunchy makes sure they still have enough oils and moisture in 'em to mash up well for paste/butter as a base for peanut sauces.

OK! Some good ideas here. Not roasting them until crunchy sounds right. And using blanched peanuts sounds like a perfect compromise for me. The oven method seems like it would be my preference. Thanks so much for jumping in.

 ... Shel


 

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How about two recipes?

This is my Indonesian-inspired version: http://ringbreak.dnd.utwente.nl/~mrjb/recipes/id/peanutsauce.txt

And here's my shot at the kind you find at British Chinese take-aways:

http://ringbreak.dnd.utwente.nl/~mrjb/recipes/originals/sataysauce_britishchinese.txt

Since I like my peanut sauce smooth, I tend to simply use plain peanut butter without too many additives.

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I made peanut sauce noodles for dinner last night - one of my favourite pantry quick dishes. I use my mom's version, similar to the NY Times recipe posted above: Half peanut butter, half sesame paste, water to loosen it up; soy sauce, rice & black vinegar, sesame oil, bit of sugar, garlic, ginger, chopped green onion & chili-in-oil sauce. Also chopped "zha cai" - Chinese pickled mustard. No peanuts though - didn't have any.

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  • 1 month later...

There are also the Ecuadorian peanut sauces. Encocado is probably the best one; it's a blend of 1:3 peanut paste:coconut milk with a dash of mild yellow "curry" (the Ecuadorian curry powders are most similar to chat masala, but if you've got access to a Latin market so much the better - look for "sazonador amarillo"....) Shrimp are generally poached in this.

Does peanut paste = peanut butter? I'd like to play with this tonight ... I suppose I can just try the peanut butter and see how it turns out.

 ... Shel


 

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