Thai style Peanut sauce — delectably spicy with a hint of sweet

Thai style Peanut sauce — delectably spicy with a hint of sweet

The homemade peanut sauce served at a Thai-American fusion food restaurant in a neighboring town, has always enticed me. They serve it with anything and everything on their menu. Ask for more and the staff is kind enough to get you small bowls full. This eating place buzzes with people from everywhere around…and many leave the restaurant with small boxed portions of the popular homemade peanut sauce to go. I’ve done that more than once. One of their waitresses, a kind middle-aged lady with soft features, green eyes and brunette hair, remembered me. She knew I had driven for more than an hour to be there that day. That I had absolutely adored their peanut sauce and bought some for home on two previous occasions. And that I’d love the sauce again with their chef special appetizer sampler platter. But only this time, she did me a huge favor. She said, “Hun, I love this sauce too. Our chef uses old fashioned peanut butter, sugar and chillies in it. Then you could add any seasoning you prefer. Have you tried making peanut sauce at home? It’s totally worth.” I agree, it was. And if I could make it, it’ll save me the pain of an hour’s drive to the restaurant when I crave for it. Though it took quite a bit to formulate, I was happy that I could play around with the flavors and mix and match. The sauce I made turned out very different from what they serve at the Thai kitchen, and yet, it was tailor made to suit our taste preference. I also pulled down the spice and heat levels a tiny bit (yes, the restaurant surprisingly serves super hot peanut sauce!!).   

This sauce has a very unique taste, unlike most other dips or dressings. I use it extensively as a salad dressing, especially for the Alfalfa Sprout Salad with Mango and Veggies. It beautifully compliments this salad, as if they were meant to be together! Other than that, I use it a lot for my artisan cheese boards. Believe it or not, this peanut sauce is a great accompaniment with some my most favorite aged cheeses. In the picture is a two year old seasoned Asiago cheese…one of my most loved ones! ๐Ÿ™‚ Do make some and let me know how it turns out. I think you’d love this sauce too…

INGREDIENTSโ‡’

Makes 1 US cup full (about 300 gm or 12 oz) peanut sauce

  • 1/4 US cup (37.5 gm or 1.5 oz) Peanuts, without skin
  • 1/2 US cup (125 gm or 4.4 oz) Peanut butter, smooth or chunky (use chunky peanut butter for a more textured sauce)
  • 1 tbsp Asian green chilly sauce (I use Ching’s)
  • 1 tbsp red chilly flakes
  • 1/4 US cup (55 gm or 1.9 oz) dark brown or brown granulated sugar
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root grated
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves grated
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp light olive oil

METHODโ‡’

  1. Dry roast the peanuts in a clean and dry pan over high medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir constantly to avoid charring. When done, take off from heat.
  2. Pound the roasted peanuts to coarse bits in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the peanut bits and chilly flakes. Saute for 30 seconds.
  4. Switch to low heat. To the pan, add peanut butter, grated ginger and garlic, soy sauce, green chilly sauce and brown sugar. Cook and mix for 3 to 5 minutes. Take off from heat.
  5. Let the sauce cool for a minute. Transfer to a blender. Add 1 tbsp light olive oil, and pulse blend till sauce is semi smooth with coarse and chunky bits. You may add about 2 tbsp of water to facilitate blending if needed.
  6. Use it as dipping sauce or dressing for a variety of snacks, foods and salads. Serve it warm or cold. The sauce tends to cake when refrigerated. Dilute with warm water as required to thin down.

Notes:

  •  Use smooth peanut butter and blend till perfectly smooth if you prefer a sauce without peanut bits.
  • For less heat and spice, reduce the amount of chilly flakes and chilly sauce.
  • Ideally this sauce shouldn’t require addition of salt (since peanut butters come salted). However, feel free to taste test and add some to suit your palate. 
  • Freshly grated ginger and garlic enhances the taste greatly. But if you will be using minced or purees, use 1 tbsp ginger paste and about 1/2 tbsp garlic paste.
  • Brown sugar enhances the rich brown sauce color. You may however, also use regular granulated sugar.
  • This sauce can be also divided into portions and frozen for use later. 
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