Peanut Satay Stir Fry is one of those easy, quick meals that tastes delicious. Perfect for a midweek dinner (and leftovers are great the next day) or a fresh, modern meal inspired by Asian cuisine. Quick and easy to prepare, this stir fry recipe will be one you will come back to time and time again.
Quick Satay Peanut Stir Fry (any protein)
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Total: 17 mins
Servings3 – 4 people
VIDEO below. A gem of a recipe given to me by a reader, this is a brilliant QUICK Satay Stir Fry that tastes like Chinese style satay that you get from Chinese restaurants here in Australia. Make this with your choice of protein – great with beef (pictured), chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu. Use shredded shaped vegetables – ideal for this sauce which is not the saucy type.
- ▢1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce (Note 1)
- ▢1 1/2 tsp sugar
- ▢2 tsp cornflour / cornstarch
- ▢1 garlic clove , minced
- ▢1 tsp grated ginger
- ▢1 tsp curry powder (any – I use hot!)
- ▢1 1/2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter (smooth also ok)
- ▢2 tbsp water
- ▢300 – 350 g / 10 – 12 oz beef , chicken or pork thinly sliced (or peeled prawns/shrimp) (Note 2)
- ▢2 tbsp oil
- ▢1 garlic , finely chopped (Note 3)
- ▢1 large onion , sliced
- ▢1 large carrot , julienned (Note 4)
- ▢1 big handful bean sprouts (~1 1/2 cups packed)
- ▢1/2 cup finely sliced shallots / green onions (plus more for garnish)
- ▢1/4 cup crushed peanuts , plus more for garnish (optional)
- Mix Sauce ingredients EXCEPT WATER together in a small bowl. Then mix in water (easier to combine).
- Place beef in a bowl, add 1 tbsp Sauce. Mix, set aside 10 minutes.
- Heat oil in a wok or large heavy based skillet over high heat. Add garlic and stir until golden (~10 sec) then add onion. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add beef. Cook for 1 1/2 minutes or until it mostly turns brown (some red spots ok). If using pork, chicken or prawns, cook until almost cooked through.
- Add carrots, bean sprouts and Sauce. Cook until veggies are wilted.
- Add peanuts and shallots, stir.
- Serve immediately with rice or noodles, garnished with extra shallots and peanuts if desired. (For a low carb, low cal option, try Cauliflower Rice!)
1. Fish Sauce has more layers of flavour than soy sauce. But if you are a fish sauce hater or are concerned about this tasting fishy (which I do not think it does), then feel free to sub some or all of it with light or all purpose soy sauce (not dark or sweet soy sauce).
2. Protein – This recipe works very well with any protein. It would even work with fish but it would need to be a sturdy one cut into cubes that can hold up to stir frying, or cook it separately then spoon over Satay Vegetables (that’s a good way to make this for fish).
3. STIR FRY TIP: Finely chopped garlic works better for stir fries than using a mincer or from a jar because it’s not wet so it doesn’t stick to the wok, and also because the pieces are slightly larger it doesn’t burn as quickly. If using a jar or mincer (yes I do!), then add the garlic with the onion.
4. I used pre shredded carrots. I always have a bag of Just Veg pre-shredded carrots in my crisper because it lasts for weeks and weeks, it is excellent quality because it’s made by the wives of QLD Carrot Growers and they are packaged within a few hours of being pulled from the ground. Available only at Woolworths in Australia. Super handy for extra hit of veggies to throw into sandwiches, omelettes, soups, salads, stir fries etc.
5. STIR FRIED NOODLES: To make stir fried noodles, double Sauce and add about 350g/12 oz of fresh noodles or 200g/7oz of dried noodles (rehydrate/cook per packet). Add it with the Sauce, toss to coat then serve.
Thai Peanut Chicken Stir Fry
Delicious Thai peanut chicken stir fry is ready to serve in minutes. Full of sweet, salty and spicy flavors, it’s a perfect weeknight meal.
Thai peanut chicken stir fry is an Asian inspired recipe that is loaded with so much flavor and color! The thai peanut sauce is rich and delicious and it’s easy to customize the recipe based on whatever vegetables you have on hand. You can even make the dish vegetarian by swapping the chicken for tofu and then serve it over brown rice, noodles or quinoa.
INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING THE STIR FRY
FOR THE SAUCE:
- Peanut butter: Use a creamy smooth peanut butter for the base of the sauce.
- Honey: Honey adds a great sweetness to balance out the salty flavors.
- Soy sauce: I like to use a low sodium soy sauce. If you are gluten free you can use Tamari.
- Thai red curry paste: For that unmistakable Thai flavor. Use your favorite brand.
- Rice vinegar: The acidity helps to cut through the other flavors for a tangy sauce.
- Ginger and garlic: Use freshly minced for the best flavors.
- Red pepper flakes: For some added heat. You can adjust the amount depending on how spicy you like things.
FOR THE STIR FRY:
- Olive oil: For cooking.
- Onion: I used a yellow onion, but white will also work if that’s what you have.
- Chicken: Use boneless and skinless chicken breasts, organic if you are able.
- Vegetables: Use vegetables of choice; I used napa cabbage, mushrooms, peppers, sugar snap peas and broccoli.
- Dry roasted peanuts: For a great crunchy texture.
- Cilantro: For freshness. You can use parsley if you don’t like the taste of cilantro.
HOW TO MAKE THE THAI STIR FRY
MAKE THE PEANUT SAUCE
Whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce until combined and set to one side.
STIR FRY THE VEGETABLES AND CHICKEN
- Cook the onion until it starts to soften and add in the chicken.
- Cook the chicken until fully cooked through and remove from the pan.
- Add in the vegetables and cook until tender.
- Add the chicken back to the pan.
- Pour over the peanut sauce.
- Toss to coat and heat through.
TIPS FOR MAKING CHICKEN STIR FRY
- Save time by using package of frozen stir fry vegetables. Thaw and pat the vegetables dry, then add them to the recipe as directed. They won’t be as crisp as fresh vegetables but they’ll cut the recipe prep time in half.
- Chop vegetables similar in size so they cook evenly. This is a great way to clean out the fridge with different vegetables you have on hand.
- Be mindful of vegetables that don’t need as much cooking time. You can be safe to throw everything that I used in the recipe for 3-4 minutes. However, you can also add vegetables like cabbage, peppers and mushrooms first and keep items like broccoli and sugar snap peas last so they stay crisp and green.
- Make sure that the chicken is cooked all the way through before moving it out of the pan. Once the chicken is added back in, it just needs to be warmed through so that the vegetables don’t overcook.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can you make this with chicken thighs?
Yes, you can make this with chicken thighs if you prefer. Just be aware that they will require an extra couple of minutes of cooking time to cook them through.
Can you make it ahead of time?
Because this is so quick to make, I will serve this as soon as it’s made. You can cook the chicken ahead of time and chop up the veggies so that everything is ready to be cooked. The peanut sauce will keep covered in the fridge for a couple of days.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 4 days and can be reheated on the stovetop.
Can you make this into a vegan dish?
Yes, you can easily make this vegan friendly. Use tofu in place of the chicken and swap the honey for maple syrup.
Tofu Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce
- SERVES: 4
- PREP TIME: 15 min
- COOK TIME: 20 min
- CALORIES: 504
- 1 tbspfresh ginger, minced or grated
- 1large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cupnatural peanut butter (unsalted)
- 1/4 cuplow-sodium soy sauce (or tamari)
- 1/4 cupwater
- 2 tbspChinese black vinegar (or 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar)
- 1 tspsambal oelek or sriracha, plus more to taste
- 2 tbsptoasted sesame oil
- 2 tbspcanola oil
- 1 (14 oz) packageextra firm tofu, drained on a towel and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 cupsroughly chopped cabbage
- 1small head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 1batch peanut sauce
- green onions, thinly sliced, optional
- sesame seeds, optional
- **Combine all peanut sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until the peanut sauce is smooth, cohesive and creamy, about 30 seconds. Can easily be made a few days ahead and stored in the fridge.
- In a large skillet or wok, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu, and let it fry for a few minutes on each side, about 10-12 minutes total. When the tofu has gotten crispy remove from pan and set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
- In the same skillet add the cabbage and broccoli, and sauté until the vegetables are soft and tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, return tofu to the skillet and add the peanut sauce. Toss to coat and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Serve over steamed brown rice, noodles, or simply as-is.
Note: This is a savory peanut sauce, unlike the sweet peanut sauce you might be used to. It may seem very salty on it’s own, but when mixed with the unseasoned veggies and tofu, it is mellow and delicious! If you’d like it to be a touch sweet, you can add 1 teaspoon of honey.
What Can You Put in a Stir-Fry?
This tofu stir-fry (that just happens to qualify as a vegan stir-fry, too) is super adaptable. Just about anything would taste good coated in homemade peanut sauce, so let your imagination run wild. Stir-fry vegetables that are in season, vegetables that you love‚ and you can’t go wrong. At high heat—which is what you want when you’re making a stir-fry—most vegetables will cook quickly, so keep a close eye on whatever you toss into the pot, testing for doneness as you go. Here are a few of our favorite tofu and vegetable stir-fry combinations:
- Cabbage and tofu: this is our go-to combo, but that’s largely because both tofu and cabbage keep for ages in the fridge, so we always have them around. It’s comforting to know they’ll be there for us when we need them.
- Broccoli, cabbage and tofu: a super healthy, super satisfying trio. Take a little extra time to cut the broccoli into rather small florets, so it cooks a bit faster. Alternatively, give the broccoli a quick steam before stir-frying.
- Sweet potatoes, broccoli and tofu: sweet potatoes and peanut sauce are an unbelievably hearty, savory, satisfying pair. We love this version of our peanut sauce stir-fry especially during the late autumn and winter months, because it’s extra rib-sticking. Just the stir-frying alone won’t be enough to cook it, so steam the sweet potato before tossing it into the stir-fry, so that it’s tender and ready to go.
Are Stir-Fries Healthy?
They certainly can be! And this particular vegan tofu and vegetable stir-fry is healthy for sure. Here’s why:
- Tofu! Tofu is an excellent, lean source of iron and protein. Soy-based foods, like tofu, have gotten some unflattering press in the past few years, but—as with any food—moderation is name of the game. There’s a lot to love about tofu, but it may not be a food that you would want to eat every single day. But a few times a week? Great!
- High heat + vegetables = delicious. A bit of oil and some pretty-high heat mean that your vegetables will cook quickly, retaining their vibrant color and lovely crispness. That means an exciting, texturally-interesting, veggie-packed meal. You don’t need a nutritionist to tell you that that’s a really good thing, right?
- Peanut stir-fry sauce. Since we don’t eat meat in our household, we’re always hunting for ways to get a little extra protein and iron into our meals, and this homemade peanut stir-fry sauce is an ideal protein-and-iron delivery system. No, it’s not low in calories, but it is high in plant-derived protein, fiber and fats, so all of those calories are pulling their weight. Since this tofu stir-fry is otherwise quite low in calories, there’s room for a little healthy splurge like this creamy, flavorful peanut sauce. And speaking of peanut sauce….
What is Peanut Sauce Made of?
This peanut sauce recipe has been passed back and forth between a best friend and I since we were about 15 years old, and in all honesty I can’t remember where it originated from beyond that. It was hers originally, but I have made some tweaks over the years, so now I think it can officially be called “ours”. It’s spicy, creamy, and so-very-simple—just toss all of the ingredients listed below in a blender or food processor, give it a good long pulse, and enjoy. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Peanut butter. I know, I know. We’re really blowing your mind here. You’ll need about a cup of peanut butter—almost a whole jar—to make a batch of this peanut sauce. You can use the grind-your-own kind (found in the bulk aisle of most grocery stores), or any brand you prefer. As long as it’s a peanut butter that’s made of just peanuts (no sugar or palm oil), you’re good to go.
- Soy sauce. We like to use the low-sodium variety, to keep this dish healthy, and so that we have a little more control over the saltiness of the final product. Or, if you’d like to keep the stir-fry gluten-free, use a gluten-free tamari in place of soy sauce.
- Chinese black vinegar. Not exactly a staple in most of our kitchens (yet!) this dark, richly-flavored, slightly sweet vinegar is, however, quite widely available. You should be able to find it in the Asian-foods section of your grocery store. However, if you don’t want to make a special trip, you can swap almost any other vinegar you have on hand without a huge sacrifice in flavor. We’ve swapped in both Mirin (Japanese rice vinegar) and apple cider vinegar, and the resulting peanut sauce was still delicious.
- Toasted sesame oil. Fragrant and nutty, the aroma of toasted sesame oil gives our peanut sauce an addictive, heady richness.
- Fresh ginger and garlic. Loads of chopped, warming fresh ginger makes this peanut sauce a particular favorite during the winter months, and garlic—I mean, what is dinner without garlic?
- Sambal oelek or sriracha. These are optional, but recommended if you’re craving something spicy. If you’ve got little ones who prefer things mild, leave this out of the peanut sauce and simply serve it at dinner along with the stir-fry so everyone can make their own serving as spicy as they please.