But let’s start from the beginning. What was I attempting to make? A sweet peanut dessert soup we call “Fa Sang Wu”. Every time I’ve asked for a recipe from my Mum, she’d tell me to use peanut butter. But being stubborn, I wanted to make it properly, from scratch.
So, for attempt number one, I patiently roasted peanuts, then blended them with some water, then boiled the mixture for over an hour with added sugar to taste. The result? Only passable soup. While the flavour was great, the texture was completely wrong. The soup I wanted to make should have been silky smooth, with no traces of lumps or grittiness.
Peanut butter soup on right
Out of sheer frustration, I made the peanut butter version. I melted 1/4 cup peanut butter in about a cup of hot water, stirred in enough sugar to taste, then simmered it on the stove to warm through, and added half a teaspoon of cornflour to thicken. This time, the texture was perfect, but the flavour was nowhere near the real thing. I’m a huge fan of peanut butter, but no way - this wasn’t going to cut it.
For the third attempt, I soaked a cupful of blanched peanuts overnight, then boiled the peanuts in about 3 cups of water for an hour and a half, then used the stick blender to blend it. I added some brown sugar and caster sugar to taste, and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, the texture was again a let down. Coarse and gritty.
Last attempt, not too bad but not really right either. Sigh.
As it turns out, making peanuts go all soft and silky isn’t that easy. Either chemical help in the form of alkali water (see this post at Lily’s blog), or mechanical intervention in the form of a pressure cooker (this post on Rasa Malaysia) is needed. Ah well, I’ll stick to salted peanuts from now on then ;)
This is probably my last Malaysian Monday for the year unless I can rustle up something between now and Christmas. Thank you everyone for coming along for the ride. Remember, my friend Suresh over at 3 Hungry Tummies will be hosting the December Muhibbah Malaysian Monday round-up, so please send all entries over to sureshchong(at)yahoo(dot)com.