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"more bounce to the ounce" West African peanut sauce

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This peanut butter sauce is a deliciously complex do it all condiment.

peanut butter sauce in bowl

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 sauted 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

making West African peanut sauce

If you make this peanut butter sauce recipe class="s1">, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

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For other simple and delicious versatile sauces try these roasted red pepper sauce or green zhug sauce.

peanut butter sauce in bowl

peanut butter sauce in bowl

West African Peanut Sauce

Peanut butter sauce that is a simple, yet deliciously complex do it all condiment good on everything from shrimp & chicken and vegetables.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: African
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 961kcal
Author: Marwin Brown


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ 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 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger grated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • ¼ 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


Calories: 961kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 72g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1572mg | Potassium: 1366mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 11875IU | Vitamin C: 23.6mg | Calcium: 199mg | Iron: 4.8mg
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