I’ve been really digging Asian food lately. As I was deciding on my main entree and side dish for this week, I decided to give Thai peanut sauce a shot. I had never made it before so I looked at a good 20 recipes. Some recipes were simple and sweet with only about 4 ingredients, others were long and complex with 10-15 ingredients. I do like to keep things simple but as it turns out, I had a lot of those ingredients anyway. So, why not use them, right? Right. Well, I know a lot of you may not have all of these ingredients on hand so I will list which ingredients are optional or that you could probably get away with not using and still have a decent sauce. Here is the catch: the fewer ingredients you choose to use, the flatter and less complex your sauce will be. If you can, use all of them because this sauce turned out absolutely AMAZING (I wanted to drink it with a straw). Plus it’s versatile. I used it as a salad dressing, pasta sauce and a flavoring for rice pilaf.
Thai Peanut Sauce
Thai Peanut Sauce
- 3/4 cup natural style peanut butter ($0.82)
- 1/4 cup coconut milk, optional ($0.16)
- juice from 1/2 a lime ($0.17)
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled, grated (optional) ($0.24)
- 1 clove garlic, minced ($0.06)
- 1 tsp sriracha sauce, rooster hot sauce ($0.05)
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.03)
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil, optional ($0.02)
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.03)
- 1/4 bunch cilantro ($0.17)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup water ($0.00)
- Make sure your natural style peanut butter is thoroughly mixed before measuring (you don’t want to get all oil or all solids). In a blender or food processor combine all of the ingredients except the sriracha sauce. Begin with only 1/4 cup of water and add more until you get the consistency you want (I used 1/2 cup total). Add the sriracha sauce a little at a time (blending between) until it is to your desired heat (I used about 1/2 tsp).
- Enjoy the peanut sauce on salads, pasta or as a dipping sauce!
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NOTE: If you do not have sriracha sauce, you can use red pepper flakes. Again, begin with a small amount and add more until it is as hot as you’d like. Remember, when using dried spices, the sauce will get spicier as it refrigerates and the flakes rehydrate.
My recipe calls for 1/4 cup of coconut milk which is only about 1/8th of a can. If you are looking for something to do with the rest of it (because no one likes to throw stuff away, especially delicious coconut milk), you can make some Savory Coconut Rice with the remainder. It is also really tasty when poured over oatmeal with fruit and nuts. If you make smoothies, coconut milk will add a lot of creaminess and a tropical flavor!
When buying fresh ginger, don’t be shy about breaking off a small nub from the large roots they have at the grocery store. It is perfectly acceptable. I never use a lot of ginger so I always just break off an inch or two so that I’m not paying for more than I need. Ginger is easily peeled with a regular vegetable peeler and then you can grate it using the smallest side of a cheese grater.