The perfect kuah kacang is an elusive thing. There are too many no-no’s: the nuts cannot be too fine, cannot put in too much garlic, cannot put in the sugar too soon, etc, etc, etc. But once you achieve it, it’s almost magical.
"Try out this simple recipe!"
1 cup roasted peanuts, ground coarsely (you can get it pre-ground at the market or get a jar of roasted peanuts and blitz them in the dry grinder)
4-6 medium sized shallots
1 clove garlic
2 stalks lemongrass (cut off the green tip, peel off the outer layers, and sliced thinly across)
6 Tbs chilli paste/chilli boh
2 inches galangal
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
½ cup air asam jawa
4 Tbs oil at the start, have about a cup more to add as needed
Heat 4 Tbs oil in a wok/saucepan. Add in pounded ingredients and fry til the air is thick with the scent of lemongrass.
Stir in chilli boh. Sprinkle the sugar and salt in. Cook until oil rises to the surface (pecah minyak) and plonk in the knob of galangal.
Pour ground peanuts in and stir very well. Mix in the air asam jawa.
Let the gravy bubble away at a low simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring once in a while.
There are 4 distinct flavours you should discern: nuttiness, spiciness, sweetness and just a bit of sourness. Adjust the spices and flavours in the last few minutes. Serve with whatever you desire.