This is a hybrid of several peanut sauces I’ve tasted over the years. It can be served with summer rolls (aka “fresh spring rolls”), or with grilled meats, like Vietnamese sweet and savory lemongrass-infused pork meatballs, or tossed with raw vegetables, as in the Indonesian gado-gado salad. The sauce should have the consistency of crème anglaise, not any thicker. It should be fluid yet ever so slightly thick, to just coat delicately.
- In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the curry paste and stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the shrimp paste and continue to stir-fry until a shade darker, about 1 minute. Add the peanuts and stir for about 8 minutes, until one or two shades darker.
- Add the sugar and continue to stir-fry until slightly caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, tamarind, and hoisin, and stir well.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the basil or cilantro, and cool to serve. Refrigerate for up to one week.