For the peanut sauce:
- 2 medium brown onions
- 1 tbsp neutral cooking or peanut oil
- 1 tbsp shrimp paste (available at Asian specialty stores – don’t mind the smell, I promise it’s worth it. A vegan/vegetarian alternative to this would be miso paste)
- 1 tsp sambal oelek or chilli paste
- 2 tablespoons palm or brown sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter (crunchy)
- 1 tablespoon tamarind paste softened in 1 tbsp boiling water
- 1 can (330ml) coconut cream
- 2 tbsp tamari/soy sauce
- Lemon juice to taste
For the salad:
- 2 cups mung bean sprouts if available
- Half cabbage, finely sliced
- Greens in season – green beans, julienned zucchini, asparagus, etc. etc.
- 1 egg per person, soft-boiled and peeled
- Potato crisps/prawn crackers prepared according to packet instructions
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil and fry the shrimp paste, breaking it up and letting it go dark brown (watch it doesn’t burn).
- Add the onions and lower the heat. Stir the chilli paste and sugar through. Cook slowly until the onions are brown and caramelised – don’t rush it.
- Remove from heat and stir the peanut butter, tamarind and tamari/soy sauce through the onions until melted and combined.
- Place back on the low heat and add the coconut cream. Stir frequently to avoid catching and add boiling water as necessary to reach the desired consistency.
- Just prior to serving, add lemon juice and salt to taste. This can easily be made in advance and then reheated later.
- For the salad, briefly blanche the vegetables by placing them in a colander (one at a time, there will probably a large volume of them) and pouring boiling water over them. Drain of excess moisture with paper towels and arrange them on a serving platter, cabbage first, topping with blanched mung bean sprouts.
- Top the salad with the peanut sauce, peeled boiled eggs, potato crisps/prawn crackers and slices of fresh lemon. Serve with jasmine rice if desired.