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
Ratings (27)

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.  ​