Thai Peanut Sauce
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 1 Cup
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: None
- 1 Head Fresh Cilantro
- ¼ Cup Peanut Butter
- 1 Knob Ginger (About ½ to 1-inch piece)
- 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Granulated or Coconut Sugar
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar (distilled white vinegar is also fine)
- 2 Tablespoons Sweet Chili Sauce OR 1 Tablespoon Garlic Chili Paste + 2 Tablespoons Sugar
- Splash of Fish Sauce or Pinch of Salt
- Warm Water as needed to thin
For the Garnish:
- 1 Tablespoon Peanuts
- 1 Tablespoon Cilantro
- Peel the garlic and the ginger (I like to peel the ginger with a spoon, it fits in all the curvy nooks).
- Chop the stems off the head of the cilantro, then add everything except the water to a blender or food processor.
- Pulse the blender a few times then blend until smooth slowly adding warm water 1 Tablespoon at a time as needed.
- Taste the sauce and adjust as needed.
- For sweeter sauce add Sweet Chili Sauce, Peanut Butter, or Sugar.
- For Tangier Sauce add Vinegar.
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What if I’m allergic to peanuts?
- If peanuts make you puffy...
No worries! I actually made this with SunButter (sunflower seed butter) and it came out great! Pretty much all other nut butters would work as well.
How do I add more spice?
- Turn up the heat!
For a spicier sauce (my favorite!) Add Chili Paste, Garlic or Ginger.
How do I make it sweeter or brighter?
- Sugar and spice and everything nice...
For sweeter sauce add: Sweet Chili Sauce, Peanut Butter, or Sugar. For more brightness add vinegar and more cilantro.
Ramblings of a Line Cook
The secret to this sauce is blending in a whole head of cilantro. The peanut butter should be the background of the sauce – The base in the band, the foundation of the building. It wouldn’t be as good without it but it’s definitely not the first thing you notice.
This sauce is really easy to customize but I highly recommend following the measurements exactly and THEN adjusting it to your taste. Some people (like me) love the biting flavor of extra garlic, chili, and ginger, and some people enjoy this way more if they use a sweet chili instead.
Now, this is not a traditional, Thai sauce. Traditional Thai peanut sauce would look like whisking together chopped bits of garlic, ground chili, peanuts and ginger with some vinegar, sugar, and oil.
I love the traditional sauce, but if you want a thick, creamy sauce that will stay on a spring roll or coat some rice noodles this peanut sauce is what you’re looking for. I love it so much I’ve been known to eat it by the spoonful. So give it a whirl, then give it a taste and adjust it to fit your preferences!