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 teaspoon chilli powder or sambal ulek*
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
400 ml (14 fl oz) water
25 g (1 oz) creamed coconut* (optional)
1 tblsp lemon juice
To make the sauce: 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, vegan 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.
Note: This really isn't as time-consuming as it sounds, providing you use roasted peanuts (avoiding the deep-frying step), and get your terasi, sambal ulek and coconut milk from the nearest Asian market. I must have had a lot of time on my hands the first time I made this, as I decided to eschew the grinder and use a mortar and pestle.