Garlic Peanut Sauce

Unlike most versions of this Asian condiment, which taste like overly sweet peanut butter, Chris Yeo's is spicy, nutty and just slightly fruity thanks to the coconut milk and tamarind he stirs in. The peanut sauce is terrific with the shrimp satay but just as good with almost any grilled or roasted meat or poultry.


Slideshow: Fast and Easy Ethnic Recipes


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: makes about 1 1/2 cups

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  • 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large stalk of fresh lemongrass, bottom third of the tender white inner bulb only, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons sambal oelek (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate (see Note)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons smooth or chunky peanut butter
  • Salt

How to make this recipe

  1. In a mini food processor, combine the chopped onion, chopped garlic and lemongrass, and process to a paste.

  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion paste and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Add the ground coriander and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the <em>sambal oelek</em> and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and boil over high heat until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tamarind concentrate, sugar and peanut butter until smooth. Remove from the heat and season with salt. Let cool, then transfer to a bowl.

Make Ahead

The peanut sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Let return to room temperature before serving.


Sambal oelek, a spicy Indonesian chile sauce, and tamarind concentrate are both available at Asian markets and at specialty-food stores.

Serve With

Grilled Shrimp Satay.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published May 2009

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