Sunday, January 22, 2012

Peanut sauce

P eanut sauce is such a favorite of mine, I can't believe I haven't posted an actual recipe here before. I know I've talked about it quite a bit over the blog-years (did a search this afternoon to reassure myself that I didn't post it but then space it!), but it appears I haven't actually shared my take on it.

I remember the day I tried peanut sauce for the first time, which, given that it was more than 20 years ago, seems a little odd. But then, food memories (for me) can be a bit that way... I was in Sydney, Australia, 1988, sometime in November. OK, so not *the* day. But I remember what I ordered--a Thai peanut pizza at a little pizzeria in the bottom of the Queen Victoria Building. Why I would order that pizza when I'd never had peanut sauce is a little lost on me, but apparently I was feeling adventurous. And since then, I've made it countless times, as I quickly ascertained that the bottled versions in the store taste NOTHING like freshly-made.

 This recipe has been my standby through the years. There are many variations to experiment with--some sweeter, some hotter, some with coconut milk--but I have always returned to the reliability of this pretty basic (but of course, adapted a wee bit) blend.

Peanut sauce
Adapted from foodnetworkcom (the recipe for chicken satay that is featured with the peanut sauce is also quite lovely)
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons red chili paste, such as sambal (I've also used chili oil or even red pepper flakes, in a pinch)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, optional, for garnish

Put the garlic clove and ginger in the food processor (or blender). Whiz quickly to break up the garlic. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, red chili paste, brown sugar and lime juice, and puree to combine. While the motor is running, drizzle in the hot water to thin out the sauce (you may not need all of the water for a dipping sauce, but if you're wanting to make this as a salad dressing, you may want a little more). Pour the sauce into a serving bowl and garnish with the chopped peanuts.

I have used this recipe in many ways--over chicken breasts and baked, as a dipping sauce for chicken satay skewers or spring rolls, over a stirfry and brown rice, with noodles and tofu, thinned as a salad dressing over cabbage and peppers for an Asian salad... it is one flavor I can eat over and over and very rarely get tired of!


  1. Very good...looking forward to making this sauce. It sounds simple enough but I know it is so totally yummy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mmm, I'm going to make this today. Thanks!


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