Special Message

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Satay Peanut Dipping Sauce

Phew... it has been a while! The week started real fast and the first few days of the week went by in a swoosh! Hubby celebrated his birthday earlier this week. So really, the chaos was all about me trying to have a plan laid out for the mini celebration that we had over his birthday lol. A plan - one with a cake as the clock struck 12 in the midnight, a hearty breakfast to start off his day and a dinner plan on the big day itself.

Well I guess I must have planned too big a plan for me to handle comfortably. That few days prior, during and a day after pretty much witnessed myself working non-stop around the clock. It wasn't like I was preparing a party for tens or hundreds. In fact, apart from a dine-out dinner with a couple of close friends of ours, the rest was basically a mini celebration with just the two of us in the picture.

So then what was the chaos all about really?

Well, that was me dealing with plenty of my FIRSTs in preparing all his favorite dishes. You know, that pressure that builds up when you have zero experience in hand, and you have a plan that you so wished that it would not go wrong in any ways, all within a specific time frame. Stressed! I guess I'm never the right candidate who works particularly well under pressure lol. But but but... the plan went on well, and the birthday man had a good time (and a big feast, of course!). Phew phew...

the many different ingredients in the sauce making

The whole thing was... taxing. So taxing I slept so exceptionally well every single night! And then - I got unwell. Arghhh! What a week in life! And I slept even more. Right until today! I woke up feeling great, and I'm as fit as a fiddle now! So, I'm back!

Back to the birthday celebration. This satay peanut dipping sauce was really just a small part of it. It comes on the side alongside the main character that it always pairs best with - the chicken satay! Which was of course, hubby's all-time big favorite! And then there was the green tea castella mini cakes - not particularly anyone's favorite; the decision to make it just hit me - totally randomly. And then there's also a dessert to end it all - the durian freeze! Woohooo! lol.

the green tea castella mini cakes 

As small as the dipping sauce seems and sounds, I sweated over its making like none others. Another FIRST aside, my biggest issue was that I hadn't got a ready-for-use recipe in hand. Searching hi and lo over the websites and flipping through whatever cookbooks that I had with me, deciding and securing a recipe was proven to be even harder a task. Each looks awesome judging from just how they are presented, but then again no two recipes were close enough for me to securely feel safe with settling on either one.

Eventually I did. This is a recipe developed from the one featured by Kitchen Tigress in her post on How to Make Chicken Satay & Peanut Sauce. A recipe originated from The Best of Singapore Cooking  cookbook by Leong Yee Soo, it adapted a method somewhat unique and different from plenty others (in which it involves parboiling the peanuts). This sauce turned out really great! Fragrant and packed with a good crunch in every spoonful, it came with the right reddish hue so attractive it's such a delight to even just have it on its own. With a little tweak to make it slightly spicier (all a personal preference yes), I reckoned that this is definitely a recipe worth noting down (and a feature) and keeping!

And a final note - I made it a point to make a lot more than what I actually needed for those chicken satay that we had over a few days (probably about 30 skewers in total? Oh, and they were jumbo skewers btw lol). That allows for a really generous dipping with each skewer, not forgetting the cucumber/onion sides that came accompanying them.

So please do adjust the amount according to what you essentially need... and you're pretty much set to go!

Next up: The chicken satay!

Satay Peanut Dipping Sauce 
Adapted from Kitchen Tigress
Original source: The Best of Singapore Cooking  cookbook by Leong Yee Soo
Makes about 2 cups of dipping sauce
250g skinless, roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely ground
250g skinless, roasted, unsalted peanuts, finely ground
60g wet tamarind pulp
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp chili powder mixed with 1 tbsp water
60g palm sugar, shaved
4 tbsps sugar
1/2 tbsp salt

peanuts - coarse and fine

Spice paste
15 dried red chilies, rinsed and soaked to soften, halved then seeds removed
8 shallots, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled and hard ends trimmed
2 stalks lemongrass (about 4" of just the tender white parts), briefly chopped to ease blending
2 candlenuts
4 slices galangal
1 slice ginger

1. Soak the wet tamarind pulp in 1/2 cup of warm water for about 15 minutes. Squeeze to extract the tamarind juice, discarding the seeds/pulp after that.

2. Blend together the ingredients for the spice paste until smooth. Set aside in a bowl.

3. Add the chili powder paste into the bowl of spice paste.
4. In a pot, bring in the peanuts together with the tamarind juice prepared in (1). Add in enough water to comfortably cover the content in the pot. Bring to boil.  Cover, turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer away for about 20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile in a separate wok, heat the cooking oil over medium heat. Add in the spice paste in (3) and fry until aromatic and slightly browned (about 20 to 30 minutes).

6. Bring in the parboiled ground peanuts and mix with the spice paste well. Bring back to boil and let simmer for another 10 minutes or so. At this point if it appears to be too thick, add in some water to get it to the right consistency. If it appears to be too diluted, keep the simmering going for a while longer to reduce the liquid content in it. A point does worth noting is that the sauce will thicken a little further when it gets off heat and cooled down to room temperature.

7. Remove from heat. They're good to be served warm or cooled down to the room temperature.

p/s If you're making more than enough with the intention to keep the rest overnight, be sure to separate out just the right portion that you need with a clean utensil, leaving the rest stored uncontaminated. And in cases where you have got plenty of leftover for the next day or two, have them chilled in the refrigerator, covered. Spoon out again just the right portion that you need (and again with a clean utensil) and let thaw at room temperature lightly the next day, and they're good to go!


  1. excellent post! I've never made satay peanut dipping sauce from scratch because I can't seem to find a reliable recipe. i love your detailed explanation of each ingredient involved. I wish i can find fresh fresh candlenuts and galangal here though. Thanks again!

    1. Hey Yi! Took me real long to locate those two too! You should try the Vietnamese grocery stores, that's where I found them. Good luck! And glad you liked the post :)

  2. Hi,

    The recipe looks good. But I'm little confuse with the parboiled grounded peanuts. Do I need to boil both coarse & fine peanut? Need to drain dry the water before bring in to mix with the spice paste?

    1. Hi, Jess! Yes, you do need to boil both the coarsely and finely ground peanuts together. Don't worry about draining the water after that though. The peanuts would have absorbed most of the water that you won't see much of it left. If it appears to be somewhat wet still, you can let it simmer for a while longer in step (6). I hope this clears things up! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...