Pecel is one of the Indonesian-style peanut sauce usually served with vegetables. The distinctive aroma of pecel comes from a kencur (Kaempferia galanga).
Pecel is an Indonesian sauce made with peanuts and spices. It is commonly served with vegetables (like salad here in the U.S.). Gado gado seems to be more well-known outside of Indonesia compare to pecel. They are similar but not the same. The peanut sauce in gado gado has coconut milk and it’s more creamy. Pen In Pecel,kencur (Kaempferia galanga) is used as one of the spices. I haven’t been able to find any Kencur here in the state. My mom actually brought some from Indonesia. The Kencur is what makes a distinctive flavor of Pecel and there is absolutely no substitute for the flavor, not even galangal because they are not the same flavor.
The vegetables you want to use to serve the salad is really up to you. Some people like to use boiled potatoes, spinach, bean sprouts, fresh sliced cucumbers, fried tofu. It is normally also served with the bitter papaya leaves, however I couldn’t find it here. You can also add boiled long beans, it is up to you what you want to have, but those are the more common vegetables used in Pecel.
Pecel (Indonesian peanut sauce for salad)
- 2 cm x 2cm block of seedless tamarind
- 500 gr raw shelled peanuts
- 5 Kaffir Lime leaves (cut into small pieces)
- 1/2 cup Cooking oil
- 2 bird's eye chili more if you like it spicier
- 5 shallots peeled
- 5 garlic peeled
- 200 gr Gula Jawa/ Palm Sugar (cut into small pieces)
- 2 inch Kencur peeled
- 2 tsp salt or to your taste
Suggested vegetables for salad:
- Boiled papaya leaves
- Boiled cassava leaves
- Boiled snake beans or green beans
- Fresh cucumber
- Boiled water spinach (kangkung)
- Boiled bean sprouts
- Boiled cabbage
Even though the package of the tamarind says it is "seedless", I find still find some seeds. For this reason, I usually mix the tamarind with about 2 Tbsp of hot water and kind of mashed it and remove the seeds before I put in the food processor. Place the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and process into a paste. It will be kinda of sticky and thick and this is the way it should be. Have a taste and add more salt if needed. It should be more on the sweet side. They can be store for months in freezer
When ready to serve, scoop out as many of the bumbu pecel into a bowl and thin it out with some hot water. I like it not too runny. So use your own judgment on how much water to use for the consistency you like. Arrange all the vegetables on a large platter and pour the bumbu pecel over the vegetables and serve