Indonesian Peanut Sauce
Makes 1 cup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 garlic clove, minced (1 tablespoon)
12 chiles de arbol or chiles Japones, soaked in hot water, seeded, died, minced
1 tablespoon minced galangal or ginger
1 stalk lemongrass, outer-hard layers and green parts removed, minced (1/3 cup)
2 shallots, minced (1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon red miso
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup coconut cream
4 tablespoons tamarind juice
Pound the salt and garlic in a mortar with a pestle into a fine paste. Add the chiles and pound to puree. Add the galangal, lemongrass, shallots and red miso in sequence, and only after each has been completely pureed and incorporated into the paste. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Refrigerated, the seasoning paste will keep for a month.
Or, if using a blender, add the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the above ingredients and puree. Transfer to a bowl and set aside or store the seasoning paste in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.
Saute the oil and the chile paste in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it exudes a pleasant aroma, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Lower the heat, and add the sugar, peanut butter, tamarind juice and coconut cream and milk. Stir to mix until the mixture boils and thickens, about 2 minutes.
Transfer to a bowl; and let cool before serving or storing in a glass jar with a tight lid. Refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep for a couple of weeks. If the sauce congeals and thickens, dilute with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, heat over low heat in a saucepan until dissolved.