Thai Peanut Sauce

Spicy and delicious, this addictive sauce fires on all cylinders: sweet, salty, hot and sour. Thai red curry paste is available in the international section of most grocery stores. It usually contains coriander seeds and roots, cumin seed, galangal (a relative of ginger root), lime leaves, lemon grass, and hot red chilies. Use sparingly at first, tasting as you cook, until the sauce develops the preferred level of heat. It’s always a good idea to “cook off” curry paste before adding other ingredients, which helps to dispel the paste’s “raw” flavor.

1 TBS Thai red curry paste (or to taste)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 TBS brown sugar
1 1/2 TBS fish sauce
2 TBS freshly squeezed lime juice

In a small saucepan, stir curry paste for 30 seconds to cook off the “raw” flavor. Add coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

Add the peanut butter, chicken broth, sugar, fish sauce and lime juice. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add additional chicken broth if sauce is too thick. Serve with Chicken Satay.

Gary – The marinade character in the chicken will be mellowed during grilling, so the intensity of flavor in the peanut sauce will be the focus. Even with the sweetness of several ingredients, the lime, chicken broth and fish sauce should balance the sugar, so look to a crisp white with good acidity, such as a Sauvignon Blanc, unoaked Chardonnay, Verdejo, Albariño or dry Chenin Blanc or a crisp, dry rosé. For reds look for a medium-bodied, fleshy example that does not have too much oak or alcohol from the aforementioned examples. A delightful and unique (perhaps masochistic) pairing would be a fino sherry or Montilla, the oxidized flavors enhancing the nut flavors in the sauce and the alcohol (15.5-17 percent) creating an endorphin-inducing burn.

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