Peanut Satay Sauce Recipe
Kasma's Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce
Sorry, but this authentic recipe from Thai cooking instructor and author Kasma Loha-unchit, does not use peanut butter. We prefer the real deal and I'm sure you will too. If the list of ingredients seems too long, you can omit some of the spices and adjust the final taste as outlined below.
The peanut sauce is made from ground red chilies, lemon grass, roasted spices, kapee, coconut milk, fish sauce, tamarind, sugar and ground peanuts.
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 shallots
- Bottom half of a stalk of lemon grass
- 1 tsp. minced fresh galangal, or substitute with 1/2 tsp. ground dried galangal
- 2 tsp. minced cilantro roots, or substitute with bottom stems
- 2 tsp. coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 5 dried red chillies
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground mace
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. shrimp paste (kapee)
- 1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups (or 1 14-oz can) coconut milk
- 1-2 Tbs Thai. fish sauce, to taste
- 1-2 Tbs. palm or coconut sugar, to taste
- 1 Tbs. tamarind water - dissolve a 1 tsp. chunk of wet tamarind in 1-2 Tbs. water
- Cut and discard the root tip of the garlic cloves and shallots, leaving the skin on. Roast on a tray in an oven at 400 degrees until softened (10-15 minutes for garlic and 20-30 minutes for shallots). Trim and discard the bottom tip and loose outer layer(s) of the lemon grass. Cut the stalk into very thin rounds, then chop. Mince the galangal and cilantro.
- In a small dry pan, toast the coriander seeds over medium heat until they are aromatic and dark brown, stirring frequently. Do likewise with the cumin seeds. Follow with the dried red chilies, stirring constantly until they turn a dark red color and are slightly charred. Grind these in a clean coffee grinder to a fine powder.
- Using a heavy mortar and pestle, pound the lemon grass, galangal and cilantro until reduced to a paste. Peel roasted garlic and shallots and mashed in until well blended. Add the ground toasted ingredients, plus the nutmeg, cinnamon, mace and shrimp paste. Pound to make a well-blended paste.
- Grind the peanuts in a clean coffee grinder or blender as finely as possible. Heat 2/3 cup of the thickest cream from the top of a can of coconut milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce a few minutes until thick and bubbly. Fry the spice mixture in the cream, stirring frequently, until it is well mixed with the cream and has fully released its aromas and flavors (3-5 minutes).
- Add half the remaining milk and the ground peanuts. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 10-12 minutes, stirring well to blend. Add more coconut milk as needed to the consistency of pancake batter. Season to taste with fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind water.
- Simmer a few minutes more, then transfer to a sauce dish and cool to room temperature before serving with your favorite grilled meats, fish, tofu and vegetables.
- Buy Ready Made Thai Peanut Sauce
- Chicken Satay Recipe
- Pork Satay Recipe
- See our blog post entitled 'Sizzling Satay: Thai Grilled Snacks'
Recipe © 1996 Kasma Loha-unchit. Used with the kind permission of Kasma and Michael. Image © 2010, Sandra Caldwell/iStockphoto.com