Peanut Sauce (w/ vegan option)

IMG_3616Ahhhh, peanut sauce. the ketchup of Asia. I’m a lukewarm fan of rice, tofu, or vegetables (despite-or-because I grew up vegetarian), but put some peanut sauce on top and I’m ALL over it. If your kids won’t eat their veggies, make this (with less spice perhaps), tell ‘em “It’s peanut butter sauce,” and they just might go for it. Unless, as is usually the case with children, that they are more clever than we are.

Peanut sauce is a recipe I find to be all about distinct taste categories: creamy, thick, thin, sweet, salt, acidic, spice. I’ve been puttering and playing for years on making a simple (and good) recipe, which means it is clear what each ingredient brings to the sauce and makes it very easy to adjust to taste.

The peanut butter and milk (or coconut milk) give it the fatty creamy flavor. If you need to thin, add more milk. If you need more thick, add more peanut butter. ALTHOUGH, know that it will thicken once it comes down from a boil, so make it thinner than you want (you can always add more liquid when it is cooled down).

The Hot Sauce and Pepper. This recipe is SLIGHTLY on the hot side, so adjust both to taste. I like this particular hot sauce for cooking, but hot red pepper flakes could be used or any other variant.

Salt. I used to use soy sauce and salt, but prefer it just salt. As with other ingredients, salt to taste.

The Maple Syrup can be substituted by any sweetener you have, really. White sugar and then brown sugar are my first two back-ups. I was at a friend’s wedding down in Arizona and we were all making french toast, the the bride told me, “you have to try putting peanut butter on the french toast and then syrup, it’s amazing.” I did, agreed, and it seemed reminiscent of my favorite Peanut Sauce in the world (”Thai Tom” in the Seattle U District), And so that is the sweetener I choose. And I’m a New Englander, so that means REAL maple syrup. Lord knows what Aunt Jemima would do.

Rice vinegar. If you only have vinegar types, I’m guessing it would be fine. Since I’m being so liberal about this recipes ingredients, I’ll have to say, why not? But don’t come crying to me if it tastes weird, i have no idea how that would affect it.

The recipe is: throw all this stuff into a pot, heat it up on medium-high while stirring frequently (gotta get the peanut butter to break up) until it begins boiling, and then bring the temperature back down. It will end up smooth, and as mentioned, thicker than when it was boiling. Serve warm.

  • 2/3 cups peanut butter*
  • 1.5 cup milk (or one can coconut milk)
  • 2 tsp Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce (or “Rooster Sauce” as I call it, because of the logo)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar

*The taste of peanut butter varies greatly, and any one will do. To keep the flavor consistent in this recipe by controlling the ingredients, I used freshly ground unsalted peanut butter I got at the local co-op. ingredients: peanuts. Period. But if you have Skippy, why not?Ingredients:

7 comments to Peanut Sauce (w/ vegan option)

  • L.Wolff

    Wow. Maple syrup? I am going to have to try this one! Thanks.

  • I’m like Julia Childs, always swigging from the bottle as I cook. Mmmm…. maple syrup.

  • WarPig

    Sounds like a good recipe, I’d substitute Tabasco for the chili sauce. I’m a Tabasco freak. The real maple syrup is a nice touch. I can’t stand flavored corn syrup so I avoid pancake syrup in restaurants. I’d rather just put peanut butter on them or peanut butter and jam or jelly with the butter. Tastes better than pancake syrup, which tastes like liquid plastic to me.

    Remember the maple syrup drinking contest in the movie “Super Troopers”? Makes my stomach knot up just to watch it.

    I wonder what your peanut sauce would taste like on some light, fluffy, Belgian waffles? Or over french toast? French toast is a big hit at my place. Of course, I’d have to leave out the spice when making it for others. French toast w/ peanut sauce, eggs over medium, smoked ham put in the skillet long enough to put a little color on it, side of buttered grits, hot coffee. YUM!

  • Orv

    A few notes, based on my own (somewhat similar) recipe:

    For a nice citrus note, add a bit of frozen orange juice concentrate. I also like some ginger in mine, which might be a nice alternative for people who want it to have some bite but don’t like hot sauce.

    If you’re using name-brand commercial peanut butter, keep in mind those products often contain sugar, so you may need to dial back the sweetness.

    The “hurry-up” version of this is to use hot tap water as the liquid portion and simply blend it with the peanut butter and other ingredients.

  • mmmm, @WarPig I’m sure it would be good on waffles or french toast, although I’d cut the hot and use a ton more syrup. :)

    @Orv, orange juice concentrate, ginger, and water. Especially the water makes sense, I’ll have to try it next time — the peanut butter makes it heavy and creamy enough.

  • Next time you are in town, I’ll make several gallons of this for us to swill at the con table.