I have an addiction to reality TV. This started off with Survivor and has moved on to Top Chef, Master Chef, Iron Chef, Chopped and The Restaurant. I love watching the challenges and the different ingredients the chefs are given to use. When Masterchef Australia was aired Dave and I were glued to our seats, getting to know the people and the judges. The show was so popular in South Africa that we did not have to wait too long for season two. I think that everyone watching was convinced that the finals would be decided between Marion and Jonathan. When I met Jonathan we were about halfway through the show – which had ended 6 months before – and I asked him not to tell me who had won. This meant staying off his webpage and twitter profile so that the ending would be a surprise. I did however know that he had met Jamie Oliver. It was a surprise when he went out, but the biggest surprise came when Marion went out over a ‘satay’ sauce. This is her heritage and forte and after watching this episode I decided to make a ‘satay’ sauce.
I turned to my Curry recipe book and could not find satay sauce in the index . I did however find peanut sauce and turned to read why this is called Sambal Kacang. Sambal kacang is a very popular sauce served with all kinds of satay in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It is also the sauce for various cooked vegetable salads called gado-gado, which are claimed by Indonesians and Malaysians as among their national dishes.
So, it is the sauce that goes with satay, and not a satay sauce. Either way I wanted to make this but my obstacle was finding shrimp paste! Even though it was an optional ingredient, I wanted to include it. I could not find it at any shop in Somerset West – the largest city in the Helderberg Basin so I drove to Green Point – 65km away to get some from Giovanni’s. This Italian delicatessen is a treasure trove of fantastic ingredients. If you are ever in the area do drop in for an espresso, and to get some lovely deli ingredients to take home with you.
- heat the oil in a wok and fry the peanuts over a moderate heat for 4 minutes, stirring frequently
- with a slotted spoon transfer them to a colander lined with kitchen paper
- leave them to cool and then grind them in a spice blender to make a fine powder
- remove and set aside
- pour off all but one tablespoon of the oil from the wok
- put the garlic, shallots, shrimp paste and a little salt into a blender and blend to make a smooth paste
- heat the oil in the wok and then add the paste and fry for 1 minute
- add the chilli powder, sugar, soy sauce and 600mls water and bring to the boil
- add the ground peanuts and stir to mix
- lower the heat and leave the sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced to the thickness you want
- add the lemon juice and add more salt if needed
thaw completely before reheating and add water if it needs thinning out
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