I don’t remember when I first tasted Thai peanut sauce, but I know for sure that I have been obsessed with it since childhood.
Seriously, Thai peanut sauce is a top contender for my desert island food. I mean, what better to have on your desert island than a sauce that could make sea kelp or even sand taste delicious?
It's salty, sweet, savory, and a little (or a lot, up to you. I like a lot!) spicy. Nutty peanut butter, simmered with creamy coconut milk, a touch of brown sugar, a splash of lime, a little fish sauce, and a dollop of a complex Thai curry paste.
This is a dipping sauce for satay or spring rolls, a dressing for a cold noodle salad, or a sauce to put over rice or anything else you fancy. I could seriously eat it on just about anything. Or on nothing at all, just straight from the pot with a spoon (I actually do this. A lot.)
How do you make an authentic Thai peanut sauce?
A while back, I asked my Thai friend Tew, to teach me how to make a really good Thai peanut sauce at home. Her recipe was amazing, but it was a bit too fussy for me to make as a regular thing.
First off, it required several specialty ingredients that I had to go to various special markets to find. Second, it required a somewhat tedious process of soaking tamarind pulp, removing the seeds, and pushing it through a fine-meshed sieve to strain it.
The second problem can be solved by finding tamarind paste (which is different from tamarind concentrate), but, again, I had to go to yet another special market to get this.
And so, because I am lazy, I modified Tew’s peanut sauce recipe. My recipe substitutes lime juice for tamarind. I also substitute brown sugar for palm sugar.
I also use a store-bought, no-sugar-added creamy peanut butter (It's funny to note that I left this key ingredient out of the above ingredients picture!)
What kind of curry paste do you use?
Kang kua curry paste (pictured above) is what gives the sauce the distinctive flavor I love. I have to buy it either at a Thai market or online, but it is worth it. If this is too much trouble for you, you could substitute another curry paste, like a basic Thai red curry paste.
While it isn’t totally authentic, my Thai peanut sauce recipe is still delicious. With my modifications, it takes only a few minutes to make.
What do you put Thai peanut sauce on?
Enjoy it on chicken satay, beef satay, or marinated grilled tofu, or as you see it here, on a gado gado style salad of steamed and raw vegetables and hard-cooked egg. I can also assure you that it is delicious eaten straight from the pot with a spoon.
- 1 (16-ounce) can coconut milk
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons kang kua curry paste
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- Juice of 1 lime
- In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, brown sugar, curry paste, and fish sauce and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the lime juice, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week and warm before serving.
Amount Per Serving Calories 190Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 3gCholesterol 0mgSodium 532mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 1gSugar 6gProtein 3g
Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.