Peanut Stir Fry Sauce

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Once you taste Peanut Stir Fry Sauce, you’ll be addicted, it’s so good! I made this stir fry sauce for tonight’s dinner and can’t wait to share the Peanut Butter Stir Fry recipe with you! Whether you make a stir fry at home or order it from a local restaurant, there’s a good chance that you enjoy it.

I myself have an affinity for Asian-style food, especially peanut stir fry sauce. As it turns out, there’s more than one kind of Tofu Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce. Have you ever wondered what the health benefits of peanut can do? Here is a list of the top health benefits of peanut.

Peanut Stir Fry Sauce

This is such a good, easy Peanut Sauce for stir fries and noodles. Anything you make with it is so tasty! Use with stir fry ingredients of choice using my “formula” – chicken, beef, prawns/shrimp, tofu or vegetarian.

Spoon drizzling Satay Sauce for stir fries into mixing bowl

Peanut Sauce for Stir Fries

This Peanut Sauce for stir fries is one of those gems that belies the short list of simple ingredients. It has depth of flavour and complexity that you find in restaurant peanut sauces yet is much more straight forward to make.

The satay and peanut sauce spectrum is broad – very broad – with variations all across the world, not just from Asia. In Australia, the most well known is probably Thai peanut sauce that are served with Thai satay skewers.

This one is not from any particular cuisine, though Australians will recognise it as similar to the Satay Peanut Sauce flavour served in Chinese restaurants, owing to the hint of curry flavour. It’s adapted from this Quick Satay Stir Fry, a gem of a recipe from a reader that I’ve made dozens of times since receiving it!

This is just a really great, simple Peanut Sauce that will make any stir fry or noodles really tasty!

Stir Fried Noodles with Satay Sauce

The secret to really tasty Peanut Sauce

Contrary to popular believe, you do not need tons of peanut butter for a great peanut sauce for stir fries! In fact, a tasty peanut sauce comes down to the combination of other seasonings that makes this extra tasty:

  • Fish Sauce – more depth of flavour than soy sauce or salt. Don’t worry, once cooked it doesn’t taste fishy!
  • Soy sauce – I use dark soy for colour but light or all purpose is fine too.
  • Peanut butter – commercial sweetened spread or natural unsweetened is fine here
  • Curry powder – the secret ingredient in peanut satay sauces!
  • Garlic and ginger – fresh is best!
  • Cornflour/cornstarch – to thicken the sauce
  • Sugar – for a touch of extra sweet
Ingredients for Satay Sauce for stir fries in a bowl, ready to be mixed

This is the curry powder I use – Clive of India which is widely available in Australia at supermarkets. Yes, this is an Indian curry. It doesn’t really matter what type of curry powder you use because it’s just a subtle background flavour. I promise!

Curry Powder for Satay Sauce

How to use this Peanut Sauce

To make a stir fry, you will need:

  • 1 batch of Peanut Sauce
  • 200g/7oz of chicken or other protein
  • 4 cups of vegetables

Here’s the written recipe for the Peanut Stir Fry, if you would like a step by step and also there is a recipe video.

To make a NOODLE stir fry, you will need:

  • DOUBLE batch of Peanut Sauce
  • The stir fry ingredients above
  • 100g/4 oz dried noodles OR 180g/6 oz fresh noodles (your choice what type – egg, rice, thin, thick)
Satay Peanut Noodles in a black skillet, fresh off the stove

FOR PEANUT AND SATAY SAUCE FANS!

I’m a big fan of peanut sauces and satay. Choose the one you’re after!

  • Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce – use the sauce in this Thai Chicken Satay Skewers
  • Indo / Bali Peanut Sauce – use the sauce in this Bali Chicken Satay
  • Peanut Satay Curry Sauce – deep, complex flavours or a Malaysian satay sauce, see this Chicken Satay Curry. It’s basically Malaysian Satay chicken, in curry form rather than on skewers. ie loads and loads of satay sauce!!
  • Asian Peanut Dressing for Salads – use the dressing in this Chinese Chicken Salad with Asian Peanut Salad Dressing or the Satay Peanut Dressing in this Satay Chicken Noodle Salad.
  • Creamy Sesame Peanut Sauce for noodles and noodle salads (warm and room temp) – use the sauce in this Sesame Peanut Noodles or this Noodle Salad with Creamy Sesame Peanut Dressing

Peanut Butter Stir Fry

This Peanut Noodle Stir Fry is the perfect quick and easy dinner. It’s versatile, loaded with flavour and takes just 20mins to make!

This also makes the perfect date night dinner. Mainly because it’s quick & easy, but also because you can neatly pair off the prep i.e. one person makes the sauce and one person stir fries the veg. Plus who doesn’t love noodles on date night?! If you ain’t eating copious amounts of carbs on date night you’re doing it all wrong 🤪. Anywho, peanut butter noodles. Follow me…

overhead shot of stir fry in wok with silver fork digging in

Peanut Butter Stir Fry Sauce

The peanut butter sauce is the star of the show here. If you haven’t guzzled the entire thing before it hits the stir fry you’re a better person than me! Let’s take a quick look at what you’ll need:

  • Peanut Butter – Crunchy or smooth. I usually go crunchy just for an extra bit of texture.
  • Soy Sauce – I recommend dark soy sauce. It’s got a more intense rich flavour than regular soy sauce. Not a deal breaker though if you’ve only got regular.
  • Lime Juice – Lime and peanut is a match made in heaven. This also cuts through the richness/sweetness of the peanut butter.
  • Sugar – Heightens the sweet tones of the peanut butter.
  • Ginger & Garlic – Both fresh and preferably both grated/minced. You don’t actually cook the sauce before hand so it’s important to have the ginger/garlic quite fine, otherwise you’ll end up with big chunks of raw garlic in your teeth – not fun!
  • Chilli Flakes – Adds a nice bit of heat to the stir fry. Work to preference!
  • Sesame Oil – This is very strong so you won’t need much. It enhances the nutty flavours in the sauce.
  • Water – This thins out the sauce so it doesn’t clump up in the noodles.

Can I make the peanut butter sauce ahead of time?

Yep! It’s pretty quick to make because you don’t cook it, but you can make it in advance if you want to get ahead of the game. Just tightly store in the fridge then bring to room temp before needed (or warm slightly in a pan to loosen up sauce).

Process shots: add all sauce ingredients apart from water and whisk together (photo 1), whisk in water until smooth (photo 2).

2 step by step photos showing how to make peanut stir fry sauce

Peanut Butter Stir Fry

Alrighty, peanut butter sauce done and dusted, let’s talk stir fry.

Tips for making a great stir fry

  • Prepping Veg – Make sure you prep all the veg ahead of time, just so it’s ready to quickly hit the pan when needed.
  • Cooking Veg – Stir fries happen over high heat, so make sure the wok/pan is smoking hot before you start adding in the veg. Cooking veg low and slow makes it limp and too soft. You want the veg to be nicely browned and still have a slight bite to it. Only high heat can achieve this!
  • Order of Veg – Different veg will cook at different speeds, so make sure you add the more dense/firm veg in first (i.e broccoli/carrots) and place the softer veg in towards the end (leafy greens/beansprouts).

Best veg for peanut butter stir fry

In reality you can use most vegetables here! The usual suspects for me are carrotspepperspring onions and mushrooms, but cabbageedamameonionbroccolibeansprouts and mangetout all go perfectly!

Peanut Butter Noodle Stir Fry

Sure, stir fries are great, but noodle stir fries are better 😋. Again, most types of noodles will work great here. But I usually go for rice noodles, mainly because that’s usually what I’ve got on hand. You’ll want to cook them per packet instruction, which usually consists of soaking in boiled water for a couple of mins.

Process shots: add oil to wok/pan (photo 1), once smoking hot add carrot and fry (photo 2), add in pepper, mushrooms and spring onion (photo 3), fry until browned and slightly soft (photo 4), add noodles (photo 5), pour in sauce and green parts of spring onion (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make peanut stir fry

Tofu Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

  • SERVES: 4
  • PREP TIME: 15 min
  • COOK TIME: 20 min
  • CALORIES: 504

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce

  • 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

Method

  1. **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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 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.

Peanut Stir Fry FAQ

What can I use as garnish?

I usually go for crushed peanuts and sesame seeds. Both lightly toasted. Garnish is optional though!

Can I reheat this?

If there’s leftovers just stir fry again with a dash of water to loosen up the sauce.

Do I have to add noodles?

Nope! Just add more veg and/or protein (i.e. chicken or prawns/shrimp)

Health Benefits of Peanuts

Surprisingly, peanuts are not actually in the nut family. They are classified as legumes along with foods like green peas, soybeans, and lentils. The peanut plant likely originated in South America in Brazil or Peru. Scientists have found 3,500-year-old pottery in the shape of peanuts, as well as decorated with peanuts, in South America.

Peanuts grow below ground as the fruit of the peanut plant. In the early 1800s, Americans started growing peanuts as a commercial crop. On average, Americans eat more than 6 pounds of peanuts per year. Today, 50% of the peanuts eaten in the United States are consumed in the form of peanut butter.

Health Benefits

Many people believe the peanut is not as nutritionally valuable as true nuts like almonds, walnuts, or cashews. But actually, peanuts have many of the same health benefits as the more expensive nuts and should not be overlooked as a nutritious food.

Heart Health

Much attention has been paid to walnuts and almonds as “heart-healthy” foods, given their high content of unsaturated fats. But research suggests that peanuts are every bit as good for heart health as more expensive nuts.

Peanuts help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. They can also stop small blood clots from forming and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Weight Loss

Foods with a lot of protein can help you feel full with fewer calories. And among nuts, peanuts are second only to almonds when it comes to protein count. Studies have shown that people who include a moderate amount of peanuts in their diet will not gain weight from peanuts. In fact, peanuts could help them lose weight.

Longer Life Span

Eating peanuts might help you live longer too. A large-scale study found that people who regularly ate any kind of nuts (including peanuts) were less likely to die of any cause than were people who rarely ate nuts.

Because the study was observational, it cannot prove that peanuts were exactly what caused the lower death rates, but they are definitely associated with them.

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