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Peanut Sauce

(recipe, Caroline Cummins)

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There are many different ways to make Thai-style peanut sauce. Meera Vargo's version includes coconut milk, while Culinate recipe editor Carrie Floyd's dipping sauce thins everything out to a smooth consistency with hot water. My version here started with a Bon Appétit recipe. But, really, so long as you have peanut butter and a blend of salt, sweet, spicy, and acid, you'll be able to come up with something good. Serve this peanut sauce with freshly steamed jasmine rice and stir-fried veggies (such as baby bok choy or broccoli) and pan-fried protein (such as tofu or chicken).


  1. 2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  2. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  3. 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  4. Minced zest and juice of 1 large lime (about 2 Tbsp. juice)
  5. 1 tsp. brown sugar, palm sugar, or other caramel-tasting granulated sugar
  6. ¼ to ½ tsp. red-pepper flakes
  7. 1 tsp. nuoc mam (Thai-style fish sauce)
  8. 1 tsp. Thai-style sweet chile sauce (optional)
  9. ½ cup smooth organic peanut butter (see Note)
  10. Water as needed, for thinning


  1. Put the ginger and garlic into a blender (a mini-blender is ideal) and whizz to combine. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the peanut butter and blend briefly. Add the peanut butter and blend until smooth, or mostly smooth. If the sauce looks too thick for your taste, add more lime juice or a dash or two of water to thin it out.
  2. Serve immediately, or cover and chill; the sauce will last for several days in the refrigerator.


If you have roasted and unsalted peanuts on hand, and a powerful blender, you can use them in place of the peanut butter. The results won't be quite as smooth, but the flavor can be superior.