I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I believe that when it comes to peanut sauce, few people can resist its charms. I mean, who could turn down the silky texture and nutty flavour especially when used as a sauce for salad rolls or mixed in with udon noodles and fresh vegetables.
While some may argue that there’s no such thing as a bad peanut sauce, I must disagree.
Over the years, I’ve tasted some that were truly terrible.
How is it possible to screw up peanut butter mixed with a couple of other ingredients? Quite easily actually.
For one, the most essential ingredient in peanut sauce is well, peanuts. if you’re using a commercially prepared jar of the stuff, I want you to look at the ingredients on the side.
Since when did ground peanuts need to be mixed with icing sugar?
The sad part is, a lot of us grew up with this sweetened concoction and have now come to believe that’s how peanut butter should taste.
In its simplest (and natural form) peanut butter is roasted peanuts ground into a paste. if you’d like a creamier version, peanut oil can be added to give it a smoother mouthfeel.
Homemade peanut butter, without embellishing, is divine and when used as a base in peanut sauce or other dishes, will come closely to literally blowing your socks off.
So when people start with the sugary stuff, the recipe is already headed towards failure.
However, there are versions at the store that don’t contain any added sugar (or salt) and here is where you must start.
Again, I’ve made peanut sauces that contain a ton of ingredients to ones that barely have any at all.
In my opinion, the best peanut sauce is one that harmonizes salty, sweet, sour and spicy flavours.
You don’t need a ton of ingredients to achieve this–think fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and chilies–everything necessary to make an outstanding sauce.
Without further ado, here is my favourite version. Try on grilled chicken or pork on tossed on your favourite noodle of choice.
1/2 cup unsweetened peanut butter
3/4 cup chicken broth
juice and zest from 1 lime
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2 chives or 1 green onion, minced
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger root (optional)
Heat chicken broth in a pot set over medium low heat; when warm, add remaining ingredients, whisking to combine. Turn off heat when mixture is smooth and thick. Serve warm.
If you’re so inclined, roast 2 cups of unsalted peanuts on a baking tray in a 400 F oven for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove and let cool. Add peanuts to