Fried Garlic Peanut Sauce


Fried Garlic Peanut Sauce

Recipe Notes

  • Yield: Makes about 2 1/2 cups


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, 3 cloves thinly sliced crosswise and 2 cloves minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and minced, or 2 strips (each 1/2 by 2 inches) lemon zest
  • 1 to 3 small hot chiles, such as Thai chiles or serrano or jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced (for a hotter peanut sauce, leave the seeds in)
  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimp, minced, or 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, or as needed
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground pepper

Recipe Steps

Step 1: Heat the oil in a wok or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring, until golden, 2 minutes. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add the 2 cloves of minced garlic, the shallot, lemongrass, chile(s), and dried shrimp, if using, to the wok and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 minutes.

Step 2: Stir in the peanut butter, coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, if using (instead of the dried shrimp), lime juice, and 3/4 cup water. Reduce the heat and gently simmer the sauce until it is thick but pourable, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cilantro during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Step 3: Just before serving, stir in the fried garlic slices. If the sauce has gotten too thick and pasty, add a tablespoon or so of water. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper, and more sugar and lime juice if needed. The sauce should be richly flavored.

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