First of all, ditch the store-bought peanut butter! We are going to make some delicious peanut sauces from scratch. Take out your blender or pestle and mortar and I will explain step by step, how to make your own homemade sauce. And once you have tried it, you will love the real taste of the peanuts.
Peanut sauce is a very popular side dish worldwide and widely available in stores in the ethnic section, with many variations at display. Peanut sauce has become a “thing”. For instance, in The Netherlands it’s more common to call it “Satay sauce”, coming from the fact that this sauce is related to having a BBQ, eating satay, and use the sauce as a side dish. However, nowadays the Dutch tend to put it literally on everything, the same way they use mayonnaise, ketchup or applesauce. In snack bars, it’s a standard sauce to choose from as a side with your french fries or snack.
In Asia, I’ve actually never seen those jars with ready-made peanut sauce. Only some small blocks that you can dissolve in hot water. Funny enough, I always have to search really well for it, when visiting a new store. It doesn’t seem common to buy instant peanut sauce.
People make it at home. And it’s far more treated as a sophisticated sauce, really complementing the main dish. And for every dish, there’s a particular peanut based sauce to go with it.
So, here are 3 recipes for a killer peanut sauce from scratch.
Step 1. Make the peanut butter base
Take your blender, pestle and mortar or food processor and make it yourself. This way you’ll have full control over the ingredients and texture. And it only takes you up to seven minutes to create a creamy peanut butter.
1,5 cup unsalted peanuts
2 tsp oil (preferably peanut oil, also known as Arachis oil) Read more about peanut oil here:
salt to your liking
Grind the peanuts to your preferred texture. Use a bit of oil to make a butter. Add salt to your liking.
Now use this recipe as the base for the following recipes:
Recipe 1. Indonesian peanut sauce, perfect to combine with satay
peanut butter from step 1
3 Asian red shallots or 1 small regular red onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp trassi (shrimp paste)
small bit of sereh (lemongrass) – cut into small rings
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger (or 1/8 tsp ground ginger)
2 large red peppers, add the seeds for a spicy kick
peanut (Arachis) oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
400 ml water (roughly)
1 to 1/2 tbsp of gula djawa (palm sugar) *
1 tsp dried coconut
4 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
* you can use regular brown sugar however, the taste will be different as gula djawa has a unique taste.
Dice the onion(s) and the garlic and put in a food processor or grind it manually with a pestle and mortar, together with the sereh, trassi, red peppers, and ginger. Grind until you formed a paste.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the paste with the cumin and coriander. Fry shortly until it starts giving out the aromas, it shouldn’t burn.
Pour the paste into a blender with the coconut milk and blend.
Pour it back into the saucepan and add the peanut butter, palm sugar, sweet soy sauce, dried coconut and a bit of lime juice.
Sir and warm it up. Use the water to create your desired consistency.
Your sauce is ready when the oil starts to separate.
Recipe 2. Spicy Thai peanut sauce with sesame oil, perfect to combine with noodles or use as a dip
peanut butter from step 1
¼ cup soy sauce OR Tamari* (Japanese soy sauce)
3 gloves of garlic
2 diced green onions
2 tbs sesame oil
1 cm fresh ginger
1 or 2 red peppers as to your liking
juice from 2 limes
2 tbs sesame seeds
* Tamari is a Japanese form of soy sauce, traditionally made as a byproduct of miso paste.Therefore it’s gluten free as this it not made with what as regular soy sauce does. It is also darker in color and has a less salty flavor. Experiment with both sauces until you have decided which suits your taste best. Or use only Tamari if you suffer from an allergy to gluten.
Put the garlic, ginger, red pepper and sesame oil into a food processor or grind it manually with a pestle and mortar, until you have a paste.
Put the paste into a saucepan and fry for a short time until you smell the fragrance. Add the peanut butter and other ingredients and warm over low heat. Stirring constantly.
Let it simmer for maximum 5 minutes on low heat. Make sure the sauce doesn’t burn on the bottom.
Your sauce is now ready to serve.
Recipe 3. Hoisin peanut sauce, perfect to combine with (cold) rice paper rolls
peanut butter from step 1 (the sauce will have and nice crunchy bite when there are still a few peanut chunks. So don’t grind the peanuts too long for this recipe )
3 tbs hoisin sauce
1 tbs sesame oil
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
Add the hoisin sauce, peanut butter, sesame oil and garlic into a small saucepan and gently simmer on the stove.
Stir in water little by little, until the sauce has a slightly runny texture.
Taste a few times and add more of any ingredients until you’re satisfied with the flavor.