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.
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons palm sugar or light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice from 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt, to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk together peanut butter and hot water.
Stir in curry paste, sugar, Sriracha, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, and scallions. Season with salt to taste. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.