Peanut sauce is a staple in many Southeast Asian dishes. Roasted or fried, the peanuts are ground up and mixed into savory sauces or stews as well as sweets. In Indonesia, where peanut sauce is most predominant and said to have originated, you have satay, gado-gado, and ketoprak served with it. In Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines, it’s used as dipping sauce for fresh spring rolls or lumpiang sariwa.
Traditional recipes for those sauces actually call for grinding peanuts, but this is not one of them. I would like to think my late dad, who shared with us everything good about Kapampangan food, including the traditional way to make kare-kare (use ground peanuts) and tsokolate de batirol (mixture of cacao and peanuts he would roast himself), would not mind the shortcut for this sauce. We were both fond of peanut butter, anyway.
Burong Kamias in Peanut Sauce
The lazy peanut sauce I made here is a combination of a lot of recipes I’ve tried through the years. What those recipes have in common, aside from using peanut butter as the base, are the salty component (soy sauce), something sweet (sugar, honey, or maple syrup), sour (vinegar or lime), and spicy (chili oil, chili garlic, chili flakes).
While thinking of ways to integrate the ferments we make into more dishes we eat, I wondered if we could also use burong kamias for peanut sauce. It needed something salty and acidic, so why not? Burong kamias is reminiscent of eating green mangoes sprinkled with salt, with the bonus of good bacteria. It’s not the first thing you think of to put in peanut sauce, but the flavor combination works. Like the loud friend who suddenly has to work with fellow type-A personalities and allows them to shine instead. What followed was a happy excuse to have peanut sauce every week, while trying different combinations and measurements.
Tossed with noodles and vegetables you like
The burong kamias was actually subtle in terms of the flavor it added to the peanut sauce. It brought the saltiness and sourness of the traditional or usual ingredients, but the finished sauce remained faithful to how it should taste. And so I did what I usually did with peanut sauce and tossed it with noodles and veg.
We used spaghetti noodles here because they are likely what people have in their pantry. For vegetables, I added thinly sliced cabbage and julienned raw carrots (cucumbers will work too). But if you have the energy, you can cook the veg and then toss in the cooked noodles, turn off the heat and add peanut sauce into the pan. If you end up with excess peanut sauce, you can always use it as dip for your favorite crunchy veggies or sauce for fried tofu.
- ½ cup salted creamy peanut butter (or 8 tbsps)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp black vinegar
- 1 tsp gochugaru or any kind of pepper flakes
- 2 pieces burong kamias, minced finely (around 1.5 tablespoons)
- 3 tsp burong kamias brine
- ¼ cup of water to thin or as needed
- 200 grams of uncooked pasta, cooked according to package directions. Yields around 3 cups of cooked pasta noodles
1. Mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, pepper flakes, minced burong kamias, and brine.
2. Add the water to thin the sauce as needed. This should yield around 1 cup and 2 tbsp of peanut sauce.
3. You can use 2 to 3 tablespoons of peanut sauce for every cup or serving of cooked pasta noodles.