A truly terrific EASY Peanut Sauce for stir fries, with or without noodles. Just a handful of Asian pantry essentials then add your stir fry ingredients of choice using my “formula” and voila! A Satay Peanut Stir Fry!
“My favourite moment of the day was when I was peacefully watching some birds in a tree, then I heard a peel of laughter behind me and all the birds scattered,” our trek guide said, at which we burst out into laughter again. “We’ve never had a group that laughs so much! And it seems like every time I heard laughing, I’d turn around and see you guys yet again doing something strange for photos.”
We met at the tender age of 12, the beginning of high school. And while over the years, our lives have taken us down paths where we’ve separated, even lived in different countries for years at a time, we always come back together and it’s like no time has passed. We have a bond that’s unbreakable, unconditionally there for each other and when we’re together, we laugh so hard that I always have to make sure I have my asthma puff with me because that’s the only thing that gives me asthma – excessive, extreme laughter.😂
And so we have emerged from our latest adventure relatively unscathed – 3 days in the New Zealand wilderness on the Hollyford Track. Very much off the grid, very wet, very muddy, and probably the most spectacular scenery I have ever seen in my life. It’s no wonder Hollywood directors make blockbusters in New Zealand. The landscape here is epic. And free of spiders, snakes, leeches, critters, crocodiles and all other manner of creepiness that we contend with in Australia!!
I won’t inundate you with too many photos, but here are a few. 🙂 This photo is one of my favourites – we were surrounded with visions like this all day. Absolutely stunning.
And this is me freaking out while gingerly shuffling across one of the many swing bridges, suspended high above rushing rivers. There were signs that indicated how many people could be on the bridge, but what I wanted to know was the last time the the bridge stability was checked!!!
I can’t even think of the vaguest connection between today’s recipe and my NZ trek update, so I’m not even going to try. 🙂
So jumping right into it – today’s recipe is a Peanut Sauce for stir fries which is adapted from this Quick Satay Stir Fry which is a reader recipe. I must confess I was a bit doubtful when I first tried the recipe, knowing from experience that generally, “good” peanut and satay sauces have a fairly extensive ingredient list yet this one had so few.
I LOVE being proven wrong (about food) and variations of that Quick Satay Stir Fry has become a regular in my repertoire, that’s how much I enjoy it. What I do is use the Peanut Sauce from that recipe and a “formula” to make stir fries and noodles. So that’s what I’ sharing here today – the recipe for the Peanut Sauce for stir fries and stir fried noodles.
This Peanut Sauce for stir fries is one of those gems that belies the short list of simple ingredients. It has depth of flavour and complexity that you find in restaurant peanut sauces yet is much more straight forward to make. The satay and peanut sauce spectrum is broad – very broad – with variations all across the world, not just from Asia. In Australia, the most well known are probably Malaysian and Thai peanut sauces that are served with satay skewers, and I promise that I will share both one day.
This one is not from any particular cuisine, though Australians will recognise it as similar to the Satay Peanut Sauce flavour served in Chinese restaurants, owing to the hint of curry flavour.
This is the curry powder I use – Clive of India which is widely available in Australia at supermarkets. Yes, this is an Indian curry. It doesn’t really matter what type of curry powder you use because it’s just a subtle background flavour. I promise!
Irrespective of the absence of authentic ethnic roots for this Peanut Sauce, the most important thing is that it’s super tasty. I love it. And I bet you love it too. Especially because if peanut butter sandwiches and stir fries are a regular in your household, you probably have everything you need to make this right now! – Nagi x
PS Apologies for the delay responding to messages and cooking questions. As mentioned, I’ve been off the grid in the New Zealand wild for the past few days and I’m still on holiday with my friends, currently recuperating in a beautiful lakeside lodge. I can hear their shrieks of laughter just outside my bedroom, and they’re giving me a lot of grief for tapping away on the computer instead of lounging around doing absolutely nothing with them. 😂
PPS The recipe for these Stir Fried Noodles with Peanut Sauce
is coming on Friday has now been published – here it is. It’s crazy good. Crazy, crazy good!
A terrific staple for satay and peanut sauce lovers!!! Use it to make stir fries and noodles using the "formula" provided below. Or use this Satay Peanut Chicken Stir Fry or this Stir Fried Noodles with Peanut Sauce recipe (pictured in post)! The addition of curry powder in this makes the peanut sauce similar to the satay peanut sauce used in stir fries in Chinese restaurants. Makes enough sauce for 2 - 3 people, a stir fry with rice, or stir fried noodles. Recipe VIDEO below.
- 1 tbsp fish sauce (Note 1)
- 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce (Note 2)
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour / cornstarch
- 1 garlic clove , minced
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp curry powder (any type)
- 1 1/2 tbsp / 30 g crunchy peanut butter, regular (Note 1)
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce (Note 2)
- 1 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce (Note 3)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour / cornstarch
- 2 garlic clove , minced
- 2 tsp grated ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder (any type)
- 1/4 cup / 60g crunchy peanut butter, regular (Note 1)
- 1/4 cup / 65 ml water
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- 1 - 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
- 180- 200g / 6 - 7 oz protein of choice, sliced
- 3 - 4 cups vegetables of choice, chopped / sliced as required and grouped by cooking time (Note 4)
- 100g / 3.5 oz dried rice noodles, prepared per packet
- 180 - 200g / 6 - 7 oz fresh noodles of choice (egg or rice), prepared per packet
- Finely chopped coriander / cilantro
- Crushed peanuts
Place all ingredients other than water in a bowl. Mix to combine. Then add water and mix again.
Heat oil in a skillet or wok over high heat. Add garlic and 1/2 sliced onion. Cook 1 minute.
Add protein of choice or sliced tofu. Cook 2 minutes until just cooked.
Add vegetables in order of time to cook, starting with the veggies that take the longer. Cook briefly until just cooked but still crisp.
Add NOODLES if using, delicate veggies (eg bean sprouts, spinach and other leafy greens) and Sauce.
Toss for 1 - 2 minutes until Sauce thickens and coats stir fries. If using skillet, you may need to add a splash of water if Sauce thickens too quickly.
Remove from heat and serve immediately! Great served with crushed peanuts and fresh finely chopped coriander / cilantro.
1. Just use regular peanut you use for sandwiches! If you use unsweetened peanut butter, you may need to add a touch of sugar to the sauce. If using pure pureed peanut spread, you may find it's a bit dry so will need to add a little oil to the sauce.
2. Don't skip the fish sauce! It's key for getting enough complexity in the flavour of this Peanut Sauce with so few ingredients. The sauce smells a bit fishy but that smell disappears once cooked. Few people can pick that the stir fry sauce has fish sauce in it!
3. Dark Soy Sauce has more flavour than light and all purpose soy sauce. It also darkens the colour of the Peanut Sauce. You can substitute with normal soy sauce. For the STIR FRY, it can be substituted with more fish sauce (don't do this for the sauce for the noodles, it's too much so it can be too fishy).
4. When cooking stir fries, add the vegetables that take the longest to cook first, then delicate leafy things like the leaves of Asian greens, spinach and bean sprouts right at the end. For Asian greens, separate the stems from the leafy parts, and put the stems in first.
Broccoli / broccolini / cauliflower - cook prior to adding as they won't cook in the quick cook time for this recipe.
5. STORAGE: The Sauce can be made and kept for 3 days. If keeping for longer than than 3 days, leave out the ginger and garlic and add it when using (for freshness and also because minced garlic goes off).
6. Nutrition for Sauce only, for stir fry for 2 servings.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
Dozer’s golden retriever boarder continued to send me daily updates even when I was off the grid. This is the first one I saw when I returned to civilisation. He looks like he’s behaving……. he respects her a whole lot more than me!!