Throughout Southeast Asia, peanut sauces are enjoyed. Indeed, you’ll find two in this book. But this one is the simplest, containing few ingredients — all of which come from jars or bottles. Hoisin sauce is a salty-sweet, purplish sauce made from soybeans, sugar, and spices. The Thai sweet chile sauce, nuoe cham ga, is syrupy and only mildly spicy. For extra spice, you could add a spoonful of fiery tuong ot tuoi, a Vietnamese chile paste, or Indonesian sambal oelek (also a chile paste). These ingredients are readily available at Asian markets, natural foods stores, and in the ethnic foods section of most supermarkets. The peanut sauce will keep for several months in a covered container in the refrigerator, but, trust me, it’s so good you won’t have it around for more than a week.
Step 1: Combine the peanut butter, hoisin sauce, sweet chile sauce, hot chile paste, if using, and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and whisk to mix.
Step 2: Add up to 3 tablespoons more water if needed to thin the sauce to a pourable consistency.