Peanut Sauce with Cold Rice Noodles

peanut sauce

A good sweet, tart and spicy peanut sauce should be part of every cook’s repertoire. Peanut sauce can be used as a dipping sauce for spring rolls and raw vegetables, incorporated into an Asian style chicken salad,  served with grilled satay, as a salad dressing, and served on rice noodles to accompany Vietnamese shrimp cakes.

Peanut sauces are used by cuisines around the world. Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai cuisines frequently serve this creamy sauce for dipping and on rice or soba noodles. This peanut sauce does not require cooking and only takes minutes to produce. You can choose to purchase a bottle of peanut sauce at your local Asian market. However, once you take just a few moments to make this easy sauce, you will never buy the bottled version again.

All you need is a food processor or a blender and 10 minutes. I recommend using a natural unsalted peanut butter to make the sauce. I use a little honey for sweetness but you may also choose to use brown sugar. Grate the fresh ginger and use a press to soften the garlic.

Rice vinegar and lime juice add a touch of acid and give the sauce a tartness. Use soy sauce to bring up the salt and a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes for spice.

I prepared rice noodles by soaking them for a few minutes in hot water. Follow the directions on the package to prepare the noodles that you choose. I also love this sauce on soba noodles.

When I serve the sauce over rice noodles as a side, I usually serve it with thin slices of  sweet red and yellow peppers, chopped cilantro, and crushed peanuts as a garnish.

This recipe makes about a cup and a half of peanut sauce. You will need at least that much because your guests will keep coming back for more.

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