Recently, a girlfriend and I had dinner at the home of some mutual friends. One of them is a master at Thai massage and a phenomenal cook who has an exceptional diet. Everytime I go there I'm treated to something wonderful (like his fried red rice yesterday : )
If you don’t have nut allergies, this sauce would round out a nice vegetarian meal with vegetables and grains and even fruit. And, if you’re having a tough time getting your kids to eat their green beans and broccoli, this is a healthy alternative to dousing them with melted cheese.
Stir-fry the mixed nuts for 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain in a colander, and leave to cool. Then pound or grind the nuts into a fine powder, using a blender, coffee grinder, or pestle and mortar.
Crush the garlic, shallots and shrimp paste in a mortar with a little salt, and saute in the remaining oil for 1 minute.
Add the chilli powder, sugar, soy sauce, water, and coconut milk. Bring this to the boil, then add the ground peanuts. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce becomes thick; this should take about 8-10 minutes.
Add the tamarind water or lemon juice and more salt if needed.
When cool, keep in a jar in the fridge. Reheat as required for use with satay or as a dip for lalab crudites or savory snacks. The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.