We have this restaurant in Thane that goes by the rather unsavoury name ‘Flavours of spices”. I am not sure why it has been renamed so, considering that it was once known by a mystical, inspiring name – Peter Wang. Regardless of the name the restaurant serves the best sauces. Their sizzler sauce and satay sauce are better than the ones I have had at restaurants specializing in sizzlers and in South-East Asian foods respectively. Ever since I have been trying out various combinations to get the same taste at home, but did not succeed until recently.
A couple of weeks back as I browsed Bee’s recipes, a picture of the peanut satay sauce popped up in one of the links, and it looked exactly like the one I liked. I pinned it for later. In her recipe Bee uses ready roasted peanuts. I do not use peanuts very often at home and do not stock roasted nuts. I prefer roasting nuts at home to avoid preservatives, stale nuts and excess sodium salts. In fact that is one reason why the previous post was about roasting nuts. Now, if you have already roasted them, then try making this sauce. It is excellent. I have added more heat, tartness and sweetness than the original recipe while adjusting the consistency and taste of the sauce as per my memory and taste from Peter Wang.
I basted tofu with this sauce today and grilled it in the oven, and Jr.P felt it was the best tofu dish he ever had. If you have a coal fired barbeque I can only imagine how much better the tofu satay will taste! We have been reducing soy consumption as must be obvious from the recipes over the years, but this is one dish I really like. There is another reason why I make such dishes only once or twice a year – these are pretty fatty. however, a limited quantity divided among a family of four makes it a happy meal, for the tummy and the taste buds.
As for the origin of the satay, the credit goes to Indonesia. The one I am sharing here is from Malaysia, and it is spicy.
Recipe: Malaysian Satay Peanut Sauce and Tofu Satay
Yield : 2 cups approximately
(Adapted from Rasa Malaysia by Bee)
Peanuts, unsalted and roasted (Click here to see how to roast peanuts in oven) – 1.5 cups
Water – 1.5 cups
Dark soy sauce – 1 tablespoon
Palm sugar OR crushed jaggery – 2 tablespoon
Black salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Powdered rock salt – 1/4 teaspoon (or to taste)
Sesame oil – 1/4 cup
Thick tamarind extract (soak gooseberry sized dark tamarind in 1/4 cup water for 15 minutes, and squeeze the tamarind pulp for juice, discarding the pulp)
Dried red chilies (seeded and soaked in warm water) – 10 (I used byadgi)
Garlic – 3 cloves
Shallots – 3
Lemon grass (white parts only) – 3
Galangal – 1 inch
Red chilli powder – 1/4 teaspoon (add if needed toward the end to adjust taste)
Crush the peanuts coarsely in a mortar (I used a manual stone grinder or silpatta) or mixer and set aside.
Coarsely chop the other ingredients and grind as fine as possible. Mine is stone ground and hence has some text.ure from the fibrous galangal.
Heat oil and fry the spice paste until aromatic and spicy. Add the peanuts, tamarind juice, water, sugar, soy sauce stirring well. Simmer on low heat continuing to stir till the peanut sauce turns smooth, about 5-7 minutes.
Extra firm tofu – 2 blocks
Satay Peanut Sauce : About 3/4th cup and more to serve on the side
Sesame oil – 1 tablespoon
Carefully slide the blocks of tofu onto a clean towel that has been folded thrice. Fold the tofu blocks with the towel and let rest for at least half an hour to drain the liquid.
Pre-heat oven to 200 deg. Celsius for ten minutes with rack in the center.
Cut drained tofu lengthwise into two equal sections and further each section into five equal blocks.
In a plate pour a cup of peanut satay sauce and gently baste each tofu cube generously with sauce.
Lightly grease a jelly pan with oil and place the basted cubes of tofu in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the oven at 200 deg. Celsius till dark, aromatic and firm.
I check after 15 minutes and turn the pieces over with a pancake turner so that both sides are grilled. Serve hot with more peanut satay sauce on the side, immediately.
The original recipe calls for sweet soy sauce (kecap manis), but I used dark soy sauce as it is more easily available nearby. The original recipe suggests addition of coriander powder as an option but I do not remember detecting flavours of coriander in the satay sauce I had. The above recipe is the closest to my favourite sauce.