This is the one and only way to make peanut sauce for Satay Ayam

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Master a taste of Asia with this authentic recipe!

Satay is a timeless Southeast Asian snack that is widely popular even today. It’s the region's equivalent to the West's calamari, garlic bread or chicken wings - it’s a dish you order to share and everyone enjoys it. A big part of this dish is the rich and nutty sauce that accompanies it. We love ordering satay, but have you ever wondered what goes into the sauce we love so much? Here, we’ll discuss what makes the best traditional satay sauce recipe.

Before we find out the best traditional satay sauce recipe, let's step back in time...

Satay is an important part of Asian cooking. It’s a famous dish that everyone has tasted. And it’s so easy to appreciate no matter where you come from because it’s so easy to eat. Meat skewers with this delicious peanut satay sauce - what’s not to love?

It started in Java, Indonesia. Local food street stalls saw that the Indian kebab was really popular, so they came up with their own version. But even though the meat was nice to eat, something was missing...so after some time of tinkering around, some smart chef realised all you needed was a sauce.

Word spread like wildfire about the tasty snack on a stick and it popped up in different countries, becoming a mainstay in Malaysia, Philippines and even in the Netherlands!

What makes satay special?

 

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There are so many different versions of satay. It’s easy to mistake which is the most traditional satay sauce recipe. When meat and sauce come together, it’s a match made in heaven. Uniquely marinated meat dipped in a perfect Asian sauce is like drinking cold beer on a hot summer’s day. But the best thing is, satay can be enjoyed at any time!

If you’ve eaten satay before, you may have noticed the meat skewers have a slight yellow-ish tint to it. Not to worry - it’s how it's supposed to be! The spices that colour it plays a big part into why it’s delicious. Most noticeable in chicken, preparation usually requires the meat to be coated in a marinade melody, which includes turmeric. The exotic spice gives the meat its distinct appearance.

Ok, now let’s get to the best traditional satay sauce recipe!

Before we start, we need to put a small disclaimer! People often think that satay means peanut sauce. Actually, satay refers to both components - grilled meat skewers with a sauce. Not everyone knows how to get the sauce right. It’s either too thick, too gloopy or lacking that punch of flavour.

Here’s the list of ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh dry roasted peanuts (unsalted)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. fish sauce (depending on desired saltiness/flavor; vegetarians substitute 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tbsp. regular soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste (or 1/2 tbsp. lime juice)
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce; more or less, to taste)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk

How to make it:

  • Place all the ingredients in a blender/food processor.
  • Blend the mixture until the texture is smooth If you prefer peanut sauce less thick, throw in a little more water or coconut milk for good measure.
  • Keep tasting! Add fish sauce (or soy sauce) if it’s not salty enough. Add cayenne pepper for more spice. If your mixture is too salty, squeeze some fresh lime juice. For a sweeter taste, add a little more sugar.
  • This sauce is best served warm or room temperature with Thai chicken satay.
  • The sauce can thicken when left alone - remember to add water or coconut milk to keep the texture consistent. It can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

What else can I use this sauce for?

 

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Now that you know how to make it, you will probably get used to have this peanut sauce every day! You might get bored of eating it with Thai Chicken skewers, though.

For a healthier and fresher taste, you can dip vegetables like cucumber and carrot. It’s a great alternative to hummus! If you’re eating for one, the peanut sauce can be poured on soba noodles, or a cold noodle salad.

It’s such a versatile dish and can be enjoyed throughout the year!

Do you often crave an authentic satay experience? Make it better by pairing it with this traditional satay sauce recipe!