Warning: if you want to know only how to make it, then you can scroll down. If you want to know how I knew this, then you can read the story ^^
Living in a far-away-from-home country sometimes requires us to be creative. I myself have this struggles with food. As I’ve said before, I love Indonesian food so much, I am used to it, so I don’t really like American food. The thing is that there is no Indonesian restaurant where I live. (Well, if there was one, I wouldn’t be able to afford to eat there every day anyway. Hhe). And it’s sometimes difficult to get “Indonesian” or “Asian” ingredients here. It’s not always available. And when it’s available, usually it’s pricey, perhaps because it’s imported, with the tax and stuff. I don’t know. So, there, we need to be creative: how to save money yet still be able to enjoy Indonesian tastes.
Some of Indonesian food requires sambal kacang or bumbu kacang (peanut sauce). If you want to make sate, pecel, gado-gado, rujak, and some other Indonesian food, you will need peanut sauce (with different spices). But again, they are not always available. Fortunately, we can make them from peanut butter, which we can get easily and is usually cheaper. So, how do I know about this?
Actually I didn’t think of using peanut butter before, but my Indonesian friend in another state posted something about it. He didn’t give out the recipe, and I was too shy to ask. I mean, we still live in this patriarchal era, where most people believe that women are supposed to know better about kitchen and cooking, so yeah, I was too shy to ask him because we’re not that close either. I mean, if I had asked him, I’m sure he would’ve shared the recipe with me. He’s a kind person. But again, the problem lay within me, I’m too shy. Hhe But anyway, the other day, my Indonesian friend here in Tucson gave me a jar of peanut butter since his wife and he had a lot of it. So I asked if he had ever made peanut sauce or sambel pecel from peanut butter. He didn’t tell me how to make it but said that I could just Google it or find it in YouTube. And, thus, the quest began.
I tried different keywords before finally found one video in YouTube. Alas, there were so many ingredients that I had to provide such as curry powder and coconut cream. Man, I don’t have it. So, I stopped searching for the complimentary ingredients. At least I knew the methods now. I just wanted to use the ingredients that I have.
Basically, these are what you need: peanut butter, garlic/powder, coriander/powder, soy sauce, water.
First, you can put some peanut butter on a microwave-safe bowl. Add some ground garlic or garlic powder, a little salt, coriander powder, soy sauce (optional), and water. Place the bowl in a microwave for a minute. Then stir. If it’s not salty enough you can add more salt. If it’s too thick, you can add more water. If you want to make bumbu sate instead of bumbu pecel, then you can add sliced onion, sliced leaves of kaffir lime, and kecap (a kind of soy sweet sauce, not ketchup). And oh, if you don’t have microwave, you can substitute the water with boiling water. I’ve never tried using boiling water, but my logic says it’s okay to use it, too. Well, that’s because basically we need the heat to “cook” the peanut butter and blend them with the ingredients.
And guess what? It’s a successful experiment! Now I don’t have to worry about not having sambel pecel or having to buy it expensively. I can always use peanut butter and savor the heavenly taste of Indonesian food 😊 And I can save money too because of that 🙊🙈😍❤