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PEANUT SAUCE

vegetable oil for deep-frying
100 g (4 oz) whole shelled peanuts
1 slice terasi
2 shallots, peeled and chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp chilli powder or sambal ulek
1/2 tsp brown sugar
400 ml (14 fl oz) water
25 g (1 oz) creamed coconut (optional)
1 tblsp lemon juice
salt

Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan (deep-fat fryer) and fry
the peanuts for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain thoroughly on kitchen paper
towels. Allow to cool, then work to a fine powder in an electric
grinder, or with a pestle and mortar.

Put the terasi, shallots and garlic, if using, in a cobek or mortar.
Pound to a very smooth paste, then add a little salt. Heat 1
tablespoon vegetable oil in a pan, add the paste and fry for 1
minute, stirring constantly. Add the chili powder or sambal ulek,
sugar and water, bring to the boil, then add the ground peanuts.
Stir well, then simmer until thick, stirring occasionally. Add
the creamed coconut (santen) if using, and stir until dissolved.
Keep hot.

Notes:

SAMBAL ULEK: Used as an accompaniment and in cooking. Made by
crushing fresh red chillis with a little salt: Remove the seeds
from the chillis, chop finely, then crush with salt using a pestle
and mortar. Three chillis will make about 1 tablespoon sambal
ulek. also available redy-prepared in small jars from Oriental
stores and some delicatessens.

TERASI: Also known as balachan/blacan (Malaysia), kapi (Thailand)
and ngapi (Burma). A kind of pungent shrimp paste, used in very
small quantities.

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