Order grilled chicken in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand and this is what you’ll get as a barbecue sauce. Peanut butter makes it nutty and rich, while fried shallots, garlic, ginger, and chiles provide pungency. Don’t be put off by the large number of ingredients: The sauce can be prepared in less than 15 minutes.
Fish sauce is a malodorous condiment made from fermented anchovies. I’ve made it optional in the peanut barbecue sauce, calling for commonplace soy sauce instead.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
One Pot MealYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, game day
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturecreamy, hot & spicy, nutty, rich, savory, spiced, sweet, tangy, umami
Type of DishCondiments, barbecue sauce, sauces
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 to 3 shallots, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 to 2 Thai chiles or serrano or jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (for a hotter sauce, leave the seeds in)
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- ¾ cup chunky peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Asian fish sauce, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oil in a wok or deep saucepan over high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, chile(s), and coriander and stir-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon.
Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Stir in the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, and black pepper, reduce the heat to medium, and let simmer until thick and richly flavored, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and cook for 1 minute. Taste for seasoning, adding soy sauce and/or lime juice as necessary. Serve at room temperature. The sauce can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days. Let return to room temperature and stir to recombine before serving.
2002 Steven Raichlen