This peanut butter sauce is a deliciously complex do it all condiment.
Peanut-based sauces sound weird but in reality, they are pretty common around the world. During a guys fishing trip to Cabo a few years ago, the chef we hired prepared a peanut chili salsa made with roasted peanuts and dried chilis that we couldn’t get enough of. In Thailand, peanut sauces are used on everything from noodles to chicken. This peanut butter sauce is based on West African cuisine where groundnut (peanuts) are used as a key ingredient in prominent dishes like beef suya or creamed collard greens with peanut butter and chilis. The latter dish I plan to post a version of soon.
This version of a West African peanut sauce is rather simple and easy to make, but it packs crazy amounts of flavor. It starts with your classic French mirepoix of sautéed onions, celery, and carrots as the base and then ingredients like peanut butter, fresh chilis, and fire roasted tomatoes are layered in before being pureed into a creamy sauce. Cumin and ginger are added for the additional complexity and give it a bit more bounce to the ounce.
Peanut Butter Sauce Cooking Tips
- Use unsalted creamy peanut butter which allows you to control for sodium amount
- Deseed and devein the chilis unless you prefer a kicked up hot AF sauce
- Use cumin seeds, toast them slightly in a skillet and grind in a coffee grinder for more flavor
- Use the sauce for dishes like shrimp and chicken or vegetables like cauliflower, portobello mushrooms, or cabbage steaks
- If you prefer a thinner consistency, then add stock or water
making West African peanut sauce
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West African Peanut Sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup onions diced
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup carrots peeled and diced
- 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 birds eye chilis chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 2 garlic cloves diced
- 1/2 tsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- Heat olive oil to medium in a large skillet.
- Add onions, carrots and celery to the pan. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes or until veggies soften while occasionally stirring.
- Add the garlic, ginger, chilis, bay leaf, cumin, salt, and pepper stirring to coat the vegetables. Sauté about 2 minutes
- Stir in the tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and cilantro then cook for 2 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard
- Add all ingredients plus cilantro into blender and puree until smooth.
Use unsalted creamy peanut butter which allows you to control for sodium amount
Deseed and devein the chilis unless you prefer a kicked up hot AF sauce
Use cumin seeds, toast them slightly in a skillet and grind in a coffee grinder for more flavor
Use the sauce for dishes like shrimp and chicken or vegetables like cauliflower, portobello mushrooms, or cabbage steaks
Habanero or serrano can be used as an alternate to birds eye chilis