Sambal Kacang (Peanut Sauce)

112 ml /  1/2 cup vegetable oil
225 g / 1-1/3 cups raw peanuts
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
A thin slice of shrimp paste (optional Vegan opt out))
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
450 ml / 16 fl oz / 2 cups water
1 tbsp tamarind water or juice of a lemon


If using raw peanuts: Stir-fry the peanuts for 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain in a colander, and leave to cool.  Pound or grind the nuts into a fine paste, using a blender, coffee grinder, or pestle and mortar.Discard the oil, except for 1 tablespoonful.
If using roasted peanuts:Pound or grind the nuts into a fine powder, using a blender, coffee grinder, or pestle and mortar. Add about a tablespoon of oil at a time and mix thoroughly to produce a fine paste.

Crush the garlic, shallots and shrimp paste in a mortar with a little salt, and fry in the remaining oil for 1 minute. Add the chilli powder, sugar, soy sauce and water. Bring this to the boil, then add the ground peanuts. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce becomes thick; this should take about 8-10 minutes. Add the tamarind water or lemon juice and more salt if needed.