Easy Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe: How to Make My Mom's Thai Satay Sauce
A word about this recipe: If you're looking for a Chinese-style peanut sauce that goes over noodles or Vietnamese-style peanut sauce that is served with fresh spring rolls, this is not it. You can use this sauce in that way, if desired. But this is a Thai satay sauce which is on the sweet side, has a flavor that is found in Thai curry (but is not supposed to be hot), and is served as a dipping sauce for Thai-style satay. If you're looking for the kind of peanut sauce that contains Chinese ingredients such as sesame oil, chili sauce, or hoisin sauce, this is not it. Thai-style satay sauce does not contain any of those ingredients and is not seasoned in the same way.
Recipe type: Condiment
Serves: 3.5 cups
- One 13.5-ounce can of full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 ounces (approximately ¼ cup) of Thai red (mom’s preference and mine too) or Massaman curry paste (milder but flavorful)
- ¾ cup unsweetened (natural) creamy peanut butter (Do not use regular peanut butter or anything with added emulsifiers. It must be the type of natural peanut butter that comes with natural peanut oil on top and no sugar added. I often use Smucker's.)
- ½ tablespoon salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar (Do not use white wine, red wine, balsamic, or anything else — not even rice vinegar)
- ½ cup water
- Put everything into a medium heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a very gentle boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.
- Let the mixture simmer for 3-5 minutes over low heat; be careful not to let the mixture scorch at the bottom of the pot.
- Take the pot off the heat, let the sauce cool down to room temperature (or slightly warmer), and serve the sauce with satay or fried tofu.
This peanut sauce keeps in a glass container in the refrigerator for weeks. Refrigerated sauce will thicken up considerably. All you have to do is thin it out with a little bit of water to desired consistency, reheat, and serve. The sauce also freezes beautifully. I prefer Maesri red curry paste. But you can also use Mae Ploy red curry paste (it's hotter). A lot of people like to use massaman curry paste, and you can do that too. Originally, Mom used roasted peanuts, ground up in a mortar and pestle. For those who feel the use of natural peanut butter in this recipe is blasphemous, please feel free to go that route. But then, what is unsweetened, natural peanut butter if not roasted peanuts ground up into a paste? For those living in areas of the world where commercial natural peanut butter is not available, please grind up 12 ounces of roasted peanuts using whatever means most convenient for you. Then use the peanut paste in the same manner as peanut butter as directed.