Sauced: Spicy Peanut Sauce


Sauces, dips, dressings, and condiments from around the world.


[Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

Get the Recipe

Peanut butter plus meat used to be a non-starter for me—separately, they were fine, but for some reason my mind decided that combined, I couldn't touch it. My turnaround from this aversion can be clearly pinpointed to when I made beef satay and an accompanying peanut sauce at home. That sauce was pretty good, but since then I've found that when I turn up the heat level of peanut sauce, it goes from decent to irresistible.

I'm not talking about heat just for heat's sake; I like combinations of different types of hot spices and sauces to build complexity. In this recipe, this takes the form of Thai red curry paste, Sriracha, and red pepper flakes, which are mixed with a peanut butter base along with palm sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and lime juice.

It's a no-cook, quick sauce to put together that has an amazing amount of flavor. I really love the layers of spice that develop after a brief sweetness on first taste, which retain a good balance with the peanut butter. While eating this peanut sauce with a plate of chicken satay, it was hard for me to even fathom a time when I wouldn't have wanted the two together.