My Thai: Curried Peanut Spread

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[Photographs: Leela Punyaratabandhu]

This peanut spread may not look like much. It borderlines on being aesthetically-challenged even. In fact, I have learned that when I serve it to friends, I shouldn't tell them right up front what's in it other than peanut butter. From my personal experience, many people find the idea of pairing Thai curry paste and peanut butter, well, disgusting.

Instead, I let them taste it. Then I pause for a bit. I remain silent, observing...waiting until their eyes light up. And before they utter a word, I say, "Satay sauce, right?" The answer is always a resounding yes.

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And that's because this peanut spread is nothing but a more concentrated, thicker version of Thai-style satay sauce. It is developed from my mother's streamlined, easy peanut sauce recipe which has been with our family since before I was born. It contains the same main ingredients: roasted peanuts which have been ground into a paste, Thai red curry paste, and a few other seasoning ingredients. The only difference is the use of coconut milk powder (which, contrary to what some cookbooks say, is not pulverized, desiccated coconut meat but spray-dried coconut milk) in lieu of regular coconut milk in order to minimize the amount of liquid preventing it from being too runny.

In other words, although you may find this curried peanut spread a bit unusual, if you're a Thai restaurant regular, its taste should not be too much of a shock to your palate. If you like Thai-style peanut sauce, I'm going to wager that you'll like this sandwich spread.

But satay sauce on, er, bread? Why, yes. If you have been to Thailand and had a chance to eat pork or chicken satay on the streets, surely you remember that your satay set comes with a plate of toast on the side. The idea of putting bread and peanut sauce together isn't strange at all.

About the author: Leela is the author of the Thai food blog SheSimmers.com. You can follow her at @shesimmers

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