Real Satay Peanut Sauce

Traditional Thai Peanut Sauce (made with real peanuts!)
Traditional Thai Peanut Sauce (made with real peanuts!). D.Schmidt for About.com
  • 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
Ratings (53)

Just because this satay sauce is truly authentic doesn't mean it isn't easy to make--you simply mix all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor, adjust the seasoning and you're done!

While most Western versions of satay sauce are made with peanut butter, this one starts with real peanuts - and you'll taste the difference! Satay sauce can be used for a variety of purposes, from a sauce for chicken or beef satay to an Asian salad dressing to a dip for fresh spring rolls. Or use it to make a delicious cold noodle salad or as a marinade for grilled chicken or tofu. If you want to make the sauce vegetarian simply substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce. 

This sauce tends to thicken as it sits - just add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out, as needed. Otherwise, it stores well if kept covered in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks; freeze thereafter.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup fresh dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. fish sauce, depending on desired saltiness/flavor (vegetarians substitute 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tbsp. regular soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste, or 1/2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

How to Make It

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.
  2. Do a taste-test, adding more fish sauce (or soy sauce) if not salty enough, or more cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you'd prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.
  3. Serve warm or at room temperature with Thai chicken satay, Thai pork satay or vegetarian/vegan Thai satay.  ​