Satay sauce is a rich peanut and coconut-based sauce used in Thai cuisine. This thick, creamy sauce is typically paired with grilled meats such as chicken or beef, classically served on skewers. It can also be served over vegetables or meats on a bed of rice and used in a variety of other ways. Many fans of Thai food label this sauce as one of their favorite aspects of Thai cuisine.
This sauce, like most Thai sauces, represents a balance of hot, salty, sour, and sweet. The heat is provided with chilies or red curry, while the salt comes from peanuts and soy sauce. Sour notes come from the fish sauce which is traditionally included in satay sauce, while sweetness is added with brown sugar or molasses. The ingredients are usually cooked together for around 20 minutes to ensure that they are fully blended, and the sauce is traditionally served warm.
Satay sauce is intensely rich, thanks to the fats in the coconut milk and peanuts, so a little bit goes a long way. Some people like to thin satay sauce with water to make it a little bit less overwhelming, but in general, sparing use is sufficient to avoid the sensation of being overloaded by this rich sauce. The sauce can also be served on the side, allowing diners to adjust the amount they want to use to taste.
To make satay sauce at home, one cup (236 milliliters) of coconut milk should be poured into a heavy saucepan, along with one half cup (118 milliliters) of creamy peanut butter, four teaspoons (16 grams) of brown sugar, one tablespoon (15 milliliters) of fish sauce, one tablespoon (15 milliliters) of fish sauce, red curry paste to taste, and a pinch of curry powder. An additional half cup (118 milliliters) of hot water should be added to the ingredients before they are stirred and simmered on low heat for around 20 minutes.
After the flavors taste well-combined, juice from half a lime can be added, and the sauce is ready for use. If the sauce is not going to be used right away, it can be refrigerated for up to one week, or frozen for approximately two months. If you freeze satay sauce, consider freezing it in serving-size bags or containers, so that you only thaw out as much as you need at any given time. Repeated freezing and thawing can negatively impact the flavor.