This is a totally magic sauce – it makes every dish you use it in very special. I use it in a hundred different ways – so many, you might want to make a double recipe. It will keep for 2 – 3 weeks in the fridge and it reheats easily.
The sauce is a combination of sweet, chilli and sour, with the tempering of the coconut milk and peanut butter. The sour flavours are layered in a tantalising way – you have palm vinegar or rice vinegar, lime juice, umaboshi and tamarind, and yet it is not too much. The sweet is layered with sweet soy and palm sugar. The heat comes from fresh green chillies and red chilli jam or paste. I usually have this one and this complex-flavoured one on hand – you can use what is in your cupboards, or you might like to make one of these so that you have some on hand. As always, because chilli pastes vary in heat level (and so does your tolerance), adjust the amounts in the recipe to your preference.
The sauce is a brown one though, or beige rather, from the soy, sugar and tamarind. But don’t mind that, it is delicious. Normally I would throw a heap of coriander leaves on top of the dish, but thanks to the record-breaking heatwaves we have had, the coriander fields are burnt to a crisp. However, do scatter some chopped peanuts over the top of your dishes using this sauce.
How is this sauce used? I drizzle the sauce on soups. Dunk noodles in it. It makes a wonderful sauce for deep fried tofu, or baked sweet potato, or steamed snake beans (or all 3 together). It goes beautifully drizzled over steamed, grilled or baked vegetables. Mix it through salads, especially Gado-Gado. Pour around steamed dumplings.