Indonesian vegetable salad with peanut butter sauce
I happily use peanut butter to make the sauce for convenience sake, but if you’re a purist you could roast and grind some peanuts yourself. You could try using Chinese tea eggs instead of plain boiled eggs—not orthodox at all, but damn good.
For the peanut sauce:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
30g shallots, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2-3 red chillis, finely chopped (seeds in or out it’s up to you)
2 tsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar
5 large tbsp unsweetened, organic peanut butter or 5tbsp ground, roasted (but not salted) peanuts
200ml coconut milk
Juice of 1-2 limes
For the salad:
250g new potatoes, quartered or halved depending on size
1 tsp turmeric
½ small cauliflower, divided into florets
100g french green beans
½ cos or romaine lettuce, sliced
½ medium cucumber, sliced thickly
3 eggs, boiled or better still 3 tea eggs (see above)
2 tbsp coriander leaves, roughly chopped
Let’s start with the sauce. Fry the shallots in the oil over a medium heat until soft. Throw in the garlic, chilli and ginger and cook for 1-2 mins, until the chilli fumes leave you gasping.
Add the soy sauce, sugar, peanut butter (or ground, roasted peanuts) and stir around for a moment. Add the coconut milk to the sauce then bring it up to the boil and simmer for about 15 mins to thicken.
Remove from the heat and squeeze in the juice of 1 of the limes. Taste. Add more soy, sugar, lime juice or chilli until you have a really fresh and feisty sauce. Set aside until ready to use.
And now the salad. Boil the potatoes with the turmeric and a good pinch of salt until tender. Drain.
Steam or blanch the cauliflower (about 5 mins), the french beans (about 3 mins) and the beansprouts (1 min) until just tender. Refresh in cold water and drain.
Arrange the vegetables along with the lettuce and cucumber on individual plates. Quarter and add the eggs.
Warm the peanut sauce over a low heat, adding a little water if it seems very thick. Tip over the assembled vegetables and eggs and garnish with coriander leaves.
Recipe and image: Jenny Chandler