Pecel is a popular Indonesian peanut sauce that is often served as a street food with vegetables and rice. It is thick and hearty, spicy and sweet, and bursting with flavor. The unique thing about pecel peanut sauce is the use of kaffir lime leaves, which lend a really refreshing taste to the sauce. The vegetables used in a pecel vary from vendor to vendor, and from city to city, too. But the common theme is raw or lightly blanched vegetables that are low in carbs.
Pecel: Indonesian Vegetables in Peanut Sauce [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
For the Pecel Peanut Sauce:
- 1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons peanuts with skin on, deep-fried or toasted
- 8 red cayenne peppers, boiled (see notes)
- 4 garlic cloves, fried
- 8 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
- 2-inch kaempferia galanga or ginger, peeled
- 2.6 ounces date palm sugar, shaved
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons tamarind juice (1 teaspoon tamarind, plus 2 tablespoon water)
- 2 cups hot water, to thin the sauce
For the Suggested Vegetables:
- Boiled cabbage
- Boiled spinach
- Boiled snake beans
- Boiled bean sprouts
- Boiled morning glory/water spinach
- Boiled cassava leaves
- Raw cucumber
- Raw basil leaves
- Grind together peanuts, cayenne peppers, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, kaempferia galanga, date palm sugar, and salt in a food processor (or mortar and pestle) until everything comes together into a thick sauce.
- It will be pretty sticky and should clump together and you should be able to gather it into a ball or shape into a block. This can be stored in the refrigerator if you are not going to use the peanut sauce immediately.
- To make the peanut sauce, pour in the tamarind juice and just enough hot water and stir until the sauce reaches your preferred thickness.
- Arrange your vegetables on a plate and pour the peanut sauce right before serving. Stir everything together and enjoy.
If you like spicier peanut sauce, you can substitute some of the cayenne peppers with bird eye peppers.
- Asian Sauce Recipes