Coming from someone who hardly eats or even likes kuah kacang much, the assignment to make kuah kacang for a Raya gathering can be described as a bit of a gamble.
Kuah kacang is not something that I find to be particularly notable. I don’t gravitate towards it on buffet tables. I find it too sweet and sickly, and sticky, and oily. I don’t generally dip my satay in it. I am even less keen on the Indonesian version than the Malaysian version, which is even sweeter.
I’m not selling this very well, am I?
Perhaps I have just never had a nice homemade kuah kacang. Actually, that’s not true – I have had Bigfoot’s mother’s kuah kacang, and wasn’t hugely keen on that either, a view which flies in the face of common opinion. Please don’t tell her. I think kuah kacang just doesn’t push my buttons.
But. BUT. I did quite like this. Maybe I adulterated it beyond recognition. Maybe it is not sweet enough to be proper kuah kacang. Or perhaps too spicy, or salty. Obviously, I don’t think so. It could be one of those strange things where once you have put effort into it, you trick yourself into liking what you have made. But hey, my peanut sauce, my rules / choice of seasoning.
It also went down pretty well with the rest of the deprived-of-Malaysian-food-crowd. Yay me!
Kuah Kacang / Malaysian Peanut Sauce (Satay Sauce)
Based on Anna Qawina’s recipe, tweaked and seasoned differently
5-8 cloves garlic
1 large purple onion, or 2 smaller ones
2 stalks of lemongrass
10-20 dried chillies, washed – adjust depending on how hot you want it
A thumb’s length of ginger
A slice of toasted belacan, around 1/2 cm thick and the length of your thumb – note that I have female-length thumbs, so don’t go too crazy. Toast it gently over a flame or in a toaster oven / dry fry in a pan until the colour changes a little.
1/2 cup water
500-800g blanched peanuts, toasted or fried
1 piece of gula melaka – this is the approximate equivalent of 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar, but start low and work upwards to taste.
1 tablesp asam jawa / tamarind paste in hot water, mushed until the water turns brown
Sugar and salt, to taste
- Grind the garlic, onion, lemongrass, chilli, ginger, and belacan in a blender or chopper until you get a paste. Fry this over medium heat until fragrant.
- Chop the peanuts roughly in a chopper or blender, then add them to the pan. Add the water so the texture is closer to a sauce. Add extra water if needed. Lower the heat slightly, and stir so that the peanuts don’t burn.
- Add the gula melaka/ brown sugar, and stir until it is all combined.
- Season with the sugar, salt, and asam jawa. I obviously added no sugar, some salt, and almost all the asam jawa.
Enjoy with some other raya food. Savour it thoroughly, because I’m only making this once a year! 🙂