Malaysian Monday : Who’s got the peanut?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Monday everyone. I was hoping my experiment over the weekend would provide the results I’d hoped for, but alas, third time unlucky.

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

Texture fail

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.


Shannon @ JustAsDelish said...

Oh yum, I love fa shang wu, haven't tried to make it myself.. should attempt soon. thanks for sharing!

Barbara said...

Oh well, Shaz, you sure gave this soup a lot of time and effort. Kudos for trying. And I wonder if one of your readers might have any suggestions? (If you can get anyone's complete attention this time of year!)
Have a wonderful Christmas!

Loveforfood said...

i would love to have 2 bowls.

Sara - Belly Rumbles said...

My instant thought is to strain the mixture, yes I know, not really going to work. Don't give up. Leave some time before next attempt, you may surprise yourself with what you end up with. Experimenting is half the fun I find at times, because sometimes you discover something you weren't expecting.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Not very familiar with this dish. Sounds good though. Hope you get it right the next round! I like peanuts. I was thinking of growing peanut this summer but I could not find any peanut in shell which has not been roasted yet.

grace said...

i won't lie--just the thought of peanut butter melted down and thickened with corn starch makes my tummy turn a bit. that said, the idea is interesting and i hope you master it soon!