Makes about 2 cups
2 tbs. vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, 3 cloves thinly sliced crosswise and 2 cloves minced
1 shallot, minced
2 strips (each 1/2 inch by 2 inches) lemon zest
1 to 3 small hot chiles, such as Thai chiles or serrano or jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs soysauce
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp lime juice, or more to taste
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
Coarse sea salt or kosher and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat oil in wok or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sliced garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 2 minutes. Remove garlic with slotted spoon; place on paper towels to drain. Add minced garlic, shallot, lemon zest and chile(s) to wok and cook over medium heat-high heat until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 minutes.
2.Stir in peanut butter, coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce,lime juice and 3/4 cup water. reduce heat and gently simmer sauce until thick but pourable, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in cilantro during last 2 minutes of cooking.
3. Just before serving, stir in fried garlic. If sauce turns thick and pasty, add 1 tbs or so of water. Add salt and pepper to taste and more sugar and lime juice if needed.