For me, peanut sauce served as a definitive gateway flavor into what would be come a lifelong addiction to Thai cuisine. Having grown up on a steady diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it wasn’t until I first tasted the peanut sauce that accompanied my Mom’s chicken satay from the Thai spot in our mall food court that I came to realize that peanut butter could be used in savory dishes as well. To my young developing palate, peanut sauce was at once exotic and familiar. Salty, sweet and rich with warm Thai spices, the run-of-the-mill skewered chicken soon became a vehicle for what I really wanted: the sauce.
I’ve made many versions of peanut sauce over the years and have come to recognize this rendition as my go-to, all-purpose recipe. Used as a dip, tossed with rice noodles or as a condiment for jasmine rice, I’m sure you’ll find this sauce has many amazing applications. While some recipes include everything from soy sauce and grated ginger to garlic and chili sauce, this particular version gets it’s nuance and depth from aromatic Thai curry paste. Along with a few other simple yet flavorful ingredients, it’s the paste that takes this sauce to the next level and lend it that authentic taste. It goes without saying that a fresh, homemade curry paste will render an exceptionally fragrant final sauce, but if you’re strapped for time, store-bought red curry paste from a jar makes a perfectly suitable alternative.