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Widely used in Indian, Thai, Malaysian, and Chinese cuisine, peanut sauce is a salty and spicy dip with many different uses. Peanut sauce is commonly used in satay, a dish that consists of chunks of chicken, beef, pork, or fish threaded on bamboo skewers and then grilled or barbecued. However, peanut sauce is also delicious as a vegetable dip, on top of noodles, or as part of your favorite stir fry.
Although peanut sauce was once considered a strictly ethnic food, it’s easy to find this versatile sauce in almost any major supermarket today. Some peanut sauces are quite spicy, while others are milder. The taste and texture can vary by manufacturer, so you may need to try several different brands in order to find a sauce that meets your needs.
If you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen, you’ll be pleased to know that there are many different recipes for peanut sauce available online. Most homemade versions involve combining either smooth or crunchy peanut butter with milk and kecap or soya sauce. Additional ingredients, such as olive oil, fried onions, sesame seed, garlic, chilies, or ginger may also be added to enhance the taste of the sauce. Some people even like to mix and match various recipes to create their own customized gourmet peanut sauce.
Not only is peanut sauce delicious, it’s also quite nutritious. Peanuts are high in good quality protein, making them an excellent source of energy and an important part of vegetarian diets. In addition, peanuts are a good source of niacin, which is very effective for raising HDL “good” cholesterol levels. The magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc in peanuts may help protect your body against heart disease. Nuts in general are also high in the bioflavonoid resveratrol to help prevent the formation of arterial plaques.
Although peanut sauce is high in fat and calories, it should be noted that about half the fat content in peanuts comes from monounsaturated fats. About one-third of the fat in peanuts is polyunsaturated fat, leaving just one-fifth saturated fat. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are considered “good” fats that can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet. If you’re concerned about your fat intake, however, you can try making your favorite peanut sauce recipe using reduced-fat peanut butter and reduced-fat coconut milk.