Kuah kacang or peanut sauce is one of the most important dishes on any self-respecting spread for Hari Raya Aidilfitri. This rich and nutty-sweet concoction pairs with any number of dishes, including nasi impit, lemang, ketupat, lodeh as well as satay. Let’s face it, satay without peanut sauce is like having mac and cheese with no cheese. And no, peanut sauce made with peanut butter is no substitute to one made from scratch with fresh ground nuts.
Here’s the thing though. Flavour aside, one of the most important aspects of kuah kacang is its texture. Smooth peanut sauce is an absolute no-no, but you don’t want one filled with crunchy bits of peanut either. What you do want is an even spread of soft yet chewy bits of peanut, and this is traditionally achieved by soaking crushed peanuts overnight. No problem if you’ve got a few days to prepare your dishes, right?
An urgent situation
But what if you need it tonight and you just don’t have the time or hands to get it all done in time? Well, here comes our slow cooker peanut sauce recipe to the rescue! We can almost hear the hardcore makciks scoffing at us from their kitchens.
Hey, we’re busy people. And we’ve got a long list of other recipes we need to prepare for Raya. So why not simplify one of them at least? But before you get all excited at not having to break a sweat, some things must still be done manually. After all, those onions are not going to slice themselves, nor will the roasted peanuts shed their skin on command. But, you’ll save yourself the trouble of having to stand and stir, stand and stir, watching over the pot of bubbling kuah kacang every few minutes. And that, we reckon, is a pretty good deal.
For the most efficient way to prepare slow cooker peanut sauce, use a multi-function slow cooker like the Philips all-in-one, which we used to make our kuah kacang. It can sauté/sear, pressure cook and slow cook, making your cooking process ultra-efficient.
Now, put on your tear-free goggles and let’s make some slow cooker peanut sauce!
- On a dry baking tray, roast peanuts at 180°C in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of your peanuts.
- Once roasted and slightly cooled, to avoid burning your fingers, remove peanut skin by rubbing small handfuls of peanuts between your palms and fingers. The skin will easily come off. There will be a few stubborn ones. Don’t worry too much about them.
- There will be a build-up of peanut skin. To discard peanut skin, lightly toss the peanuts in a tray or basket and blow the skin away. You can also use a fan. This can get messy so if you only have space indoors, do this over a large empty sink or bin. If you have space outdoors, it’s ok to have peanut skin settle over your grass.
- Use a food processor and pulse your peanuts to medium coarseness. It’s ok if some of the peanuts are slightly finer or chunkier.
- Slice onions thinly.
- If you’re using a solid chunk of coconut sugar, grate or chop them into smaller pieces.
- Soak tamarind pulp in ¾ cup water, massaging it to release the pulp from the seed.
- Finally, blend galangal with lemongrass until very smooth. You may need to add a bit of water to aid in the process.
Step 1: sauté/sear
- In a slow cooker, select the sauté/sear high temperature setting. Add belacan.
- Stir the belacan regularly, breaking it into smaller clumps and toasting it until it is almost dry and looks like clumpy sand. You’ll be able to smell its pungent aroma as the belacan toasts.
- Add cooking oil to the slow cooker and wait until it starts to bubble.
- Add chilli boh and blended mixture, mixing and stirring until the ingredients in the pot no longer looks wet or watery, about 6 to 8 minutes. The timing will depend on the water content of your ingredients, as well as the amount of water used to blend the galangal and lemongrass earlier.
Important tip: If your slow cooker doesn’t have the sauté/sear option, prepare the four steps above on your stove top using a wok or pot on high temperature. Then, transfer all the ingredients into the slow cooker.
Step 2: pressure cook
- Add all the onions and stir until everything is evenly mixed.
- Cancel the sauté/sear high temperature setting and cover your slow cooker with the lid. Set the slow cooker to pressure cook for 5 minutes. We selected the manual pressure cook setting on our Philips all-in-one cooker. Don’t be surprised if your ingredients already smells like peanut sauce!
- Once the pressure cook is complete and the pressure has been released, remove the lid.
- Add coconut sugar, and stir until it’s mixed through.
- Once again, let the ingredients pressure cook for another 5 minutes. This will disintegrate the onions further. Imagine doing this on a regular stove – this step alone takes anywhere from 25 to 30 minutes.
Important tip: If your slow cooker doesn’t have an in-built pressure cooker, continue the steps above on your stove top until the onions have completely disintegrated. Then, melt the coconut sugar before transferring all the ingredients and continuing with the following steps in the slow cooker.
Step 3: slow cooker peanut sauce
- Add in ground peanuts and stir to combine with the rest of the ingredients.
- Next, add 1.35 L water, followed by the tamarind pulp water poured through a sieve to catch any seeds. Squeeze the pulp to remove the yummy juices. Give all the ingredients a really good stir.
- Cover your slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on low temperature. The slow cooking process will replace the need to soak your peanuts overnight while cooking your kuah satay at the same time. Brilliant!
- While waiting, prepare your other dishes, set the table, have a shower, etc. The slow cooker will take care of everything else, and even if you run overtime, most slow cookers will continue to keep your dish warm without further cooking it.
- Once the slow cooker is done and the steam is released, remove the lid. Give the sauce a few good stirs. Your slow cooker peanut sauce is ready!
- Depending on the belacan you use, salt may not be needed at all as belacan is naturally salty. However, do give the peanut sauce a taste when it is done cooking to make sure.
- Homemade chili boh is best – check out our recipe for chili boh here! – however, if you don’t have the time to make your own, look for good quality chili boh with only dried chilies as its main ingredient. Many market or supermarket varieties include other ingredients like garlic or ginger. Avoid these if possible. But if you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, you can use this option, just bear in mind you’ll probably need to add some blended dehydrated dried chilies to add some oomph to your slow cooker peanut sauce. Peanut sauce is not meant to be spicy though, so don’t add too much.
- If you’re too lazy to grate or chop your coconut sugar, some supermarkets now carry the already grated options.
- Some tamarind pastes are stronger than others. If yours is very dark in colour, you may need only half the amount. However, maintain the same quantity of water.
- If you want to speed things up, set the slow cooker to 3 hours on high temperature.
Slow cooker peanut sauce is legit, and it smells and tastes every bit as good as the stove top variety. Make this for your next Raya do and no one will believe you didn’t slave in your kitchen for hours making it. Even your makciks won’t know the difference! Show us how your slow cooker peanut sauce turned out by using the #butterkicap hashtag.
If you have no slow cooker at home, follow our recipe for some amazing stove-top peanut sauce for all your kuah kacang needs.