magic spicy peanut sauce

Aww yeah, this is where the magic happens. 4 burners on a tiny electric stove in dark and tiny galley kitchen. I definitely dream of the time when I’ll have a truly beautiful kitchen with a window, a dishwasher and a gas-powered stove. But this is what I’ve got. It ain’t fancy and it certainly isn’t a hindrance when it comes to cooking creatively.

Now what you are looking at may not look pretty, but boy oh boy, eating this made me feel like I unlocked some ancient life-changing secret. This is a peanut sauce and while I’ve made quite a few delicious peanut sauces, this one knocked my socks off. When I set out to make this sauce, I was just thinking of adding something simple to the tofu and veggie stirfry that I was making for dinner. An almost empty jar of peanut butter in the fridge held my attention. And while I didn’t set out to re-create something magical, it just happened that way.

You see, there’s a local unassuming Chinese restaurant in Vancouver called Szechuan Chongqing and they have a wonton dish in spicy peanut sauce that is my absolute most favorite thing to order. The sauce is spicy and peanutty and oh-so-perfect and never in my right mind did I think that I could create that kind of magic at home in my dingy little kitchen. But somehow this sauce was revelatory. It was just like the version I know and love. Better even, because my peanut sauce wasn’t greasy like Chongquing’s version. So toss this up a sauce to mix in with your stir fry or use as a dipping sauce with chicken or tofu. Or go all out and use as a sauce for some pork-filled wontons and let the magic happen to you.

47 comments to “magic spicy peanut sauce”

  1. 1
    liz r.   November 22, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    Oh the pain! I love peanut sauce, but one of my kids has a severe peanut allergy, so I just can't make it at home. I wonder if it would be too heretical to use soy nut butter?

    I have a dark little galley kitchen as well, and have become rather fond of it, except when I'm holding a hot baking sheet in one hand and cursing the lack of counter space.

  2. 2
    Tea   November 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I love the message behind this post–it doesn't take much for magic to happen. Thanks for the reminder!


  3. 3
    CookiePie   November 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Oh YUM – a good spicy peanut sauce with a tofu stir fry – one of my favorite things to have for dinner! I will have to try your recipe anything good is better with siracha!!

  4. 4
    Erica   November 22, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    Liz R., I was eyeing this (drooling, perhaps) as a potential soynut butter dish, too. I don't think it'd be heretical! I've used soynut butter as sauce for chicken satays before, but the spiciness here seems like a revelation.

  5. 5
    Renee (   November 22, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    i had to triple check the first picture because it looks exactly like my stove!! i have the same kettle and a very similar stove! the recipe sounds delish!

  6. 6
    Melynda   November 22, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Yum! I cannot wait to try this. I love peanut sauce.

  7. 7
    Brigitte   November 22, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Love your blog.
    Love your little kitchen too.
    So spotless too! Mine always has splatters when I cook…
    Now I have what might be a dumb question – what's sriracha?
    Dying to try your magic sauce!

  8. 8
    Bijoux   November 22, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    I too wish to have a beautiful kitchen one day with a dishwasher and a gas stove and a microwave and lots of cupboard space…for now I'll just have to make do with the magical things in life like your great food. Peanut sauce is an absolute favourite of mine and I've tried all kinds of variations so I'm open to sampling yet another rendition of fab peanut sauce.

  9. 9
    kickpleat   November 22, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    liz, listen to erica's comment below! i would have no idea, but try it out and see! and i'm super familiar with the hot baking sheet problem. oi!

    yes, thank you tea!! magic can happen where you least expect it…even in a tiny kitchen!

    i agree, cookiepie!

    oh thank you so much meagan for commenting! let's hope for real nice kitchens one day soon 🙂

    thanks erica for lending a helping hand in this little virtual kitchen!

    haha, renee, glad to hear that i'm not the only one with the same stove! too funny.

    thanks melynda, it's a goodie.

    brigitte, thanks so much. it's not always so spotless….always splatters too. sriracha is an asian hot sauce with a rooster on the bottle. you can read about it here:

  10. 10
    kickpleat   November 22, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    haha, thanks bijoux! do try this one though, it's the bomb.

  11. 11
    Erin   November 23, 2009 at 12:14 am

    I love a good peanut sauce. Can't wait to try this one out!

  12. 12
    Meagan   November 22, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    I read your blog but rarely comment — I couldn't help it this time, as your post means I'm buying peanut butter tomorrow to sauce a buncha pork that's cooling its heels in the fridge at present.

    Also: my parents used to have the pot on the front left burner in the pic, and I currently have the same kettle as you. Maybe we'll both get real kitchens someday too! 🙂

  13. 13
    Joanne   November 23, 2009 at 3:15 am

    I think I spend my life looking for the ultimate peanut sauce recipe. This is going on the list of ones to try.

  14. 14
    Dawn   November 23, 2009 at 5:58 am

    girl you should see my little gallery kitchen–at least you have counter space!
    can't wait for my dream kitchen too–it's out there, somewhere. lol

  15. 15
    Celeste   November 23, 2009 at 6:32 am

    I had…a great kitchen last year but since moving back to Vancouver I have had to adapt to the galley style kitchen again.
    But looking at your pic of your stove encourages me to keep pressing on and keep dreaming about that bigger kitchen.
    Did not know about the hot sauce.
    Will be buying some in the near future.

  16. 16
    Katerina   November 23, 2009 at 8:49 am

    I am always looking for a good peanut sauce, this looks great and I almost always have these ingredients on hand.

    I buy Sriracha in bulk from costco, lets be serious.

  17. 17
    ali @ gimme some oven   November 23, 2009 at 9:01 am

    I love it!!!

    I actually just made a Pad-Thai-esque dish last night. And when it was lacking just a little peanut-y flavor, reached for the bottle of sauce I keep onhand. But it totally occurred to me that I should try making it homemade.

    So LOVED that this post just popped up! Will have to give it a try. 🙂

  18. 18
    Dana   November 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I am lucky enough to have my dream kitchen, but I have to tell you that I made food just as good in my far-from-dream-kitchen. You do so well with what you have! I would slather that peanut sauce on everything.

  19. 19
    liz r.   November 23, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks, Erica and kickpleat! I'm definitely going to try it.

  20. 20
    Daily Spud   November 23, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Y'know, my stove top is nothing flash either but (while I do dream of a nice gas hob) it does the job and more 🙂

    As for your magic sauce, I will have to give it a whirl – am a big fan of anything sriracha so it's going on the must-try-soon list!

  21. 21
    Amanda Nicole   November 23, 2009 at 8:31 am

    I'm sold! It also appears that you and I have the same kitchen. Although, we hate doing dishes so much that we sacrificed half of the already minute counter space and added a counter-top dishwasher 😉

  22. 22
    my boyfriend cooks for me   November 23, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Where was this recipe when we kept getting peanuts from our CSA?? Definitely bookmarking this for next peanut-season…

  23. 23
    Amy   November 23, 2009 at 9:57 am

    I have a rather large kitchen, but the layout is not the most desirable. So, I fantasize for something else, preferably with a better ventilation system, so I can roast things without the smoke alarm going off!!

    Always enjoy a great peanut sauce. I rarely make it, though, since 3+ year old daughter doesn't like peanuts or peanut butter. It's questionable whether she's actually mine or not.

  24. 24
    Lydia   November 23, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Oh man! I came to your blog to look for something good to do with chicken and rice for my dinner tonight and here it is. First post. Magic. Also helps me with my "I don't like my massive jar of Costco peanut butter" problem.

  25. 25
    Cookie baker Lynn   November 24, 2009 at 8:22 am

    My thoughts when looking at your stove – it's clean, you always make amazing food, and I certainly hope you're left-handed!

    I'm writing this recipe down. Best ever way to dress up a stir fry!

  26. 26
    emvandee   November 24, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I know exactly the wontons you mean. Fabulous, and I love the sauce. Thanks for discovering the recipe and writing it down 🙂

  27. 27
    hag   November 25, 2009 at 11:43 am

    I love that peanut sauce…thanks for figuring our the alchemy of it…yum!

  28. 28
    Anonymous   November 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    kickpleat, electric definitely trumps gas in the kitchen!

  29. 29
    Jesseline   November 26, 2009 at 6:37 am

    I came across your blog from Poppytalk, and I just have to say I absolutely love your recipes, your passion for good food, and your easy to follow instructions. I too have a small kitchen, but would never let that stop me from being creative in the kitchen. I made this sauce with a similar tofu stir fry last night for my boyfriend and I, and his exact words were "This sauce is tits".

  30. 30
    kickpleat   November 26, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Erin, this one is a goodie for sure.

    Better move it to the top of the list, Joanne!

    Dawn, I barely have counter space! It's tiny. Yes, let's both get awesome kitchens.

    Celeste, ah Vancouver and it's galley kitchens! Make do and love that hot sauce, it's a good one.

    Amanda, I now have to know what kind of countertop dishwasher you have! I need one too!

    Hahah, I do the same Katerina!

    Ali, perfect timing! Make this next time rather than reaching for the bottle.

    Amy, I like your attitude!

    Thanks Dana! I share your peanut sauce enthusiasm!

    Liz, let us know the results!

    Thanks Spud! Nice to see so many food bloggers working in less than ideal situations. Goes to show that you can create magic with nothing!

    Lydia, hooray for magic! I used the dry bits from my almost empty jar of pb and it worked beautifully.

    boyfriendcooks, peanuts in your CSA? Jealous.

    Lynn, I'm right handed, but it hasn't been much of an issue!

    emvandee & hag, I didn't plan of recreating that sauce, it just happened. I def had to write it down!

    anon, thanks for your imput, but I do miss the gas stove I used to have in my old apartment.

    Jesseline, best comment ever! thanks!

  31. 31
    kickpleat   November 26, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    E, you could use those, but the sauce won't be the same. Let your taste buds be your guide.

  32. 32
    E   November 26, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Some great. Will see if I can make something tasty w/o the 2 bought condiments: sriracha & chili garlic sauce.
    Seems like chili flakes and garlic could replace?

  33. 33
    Caroline   November 28, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    yum! Love anything spicy peanuty.

  34. 34
    gemma   November 30, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Made this last night to accompany leftover vegetables. Wonderful, thanks!

  35. 35
    Bonne Maman   November 30, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I too am addicted to Chonquing's spicy p-nut wontons! Thanks! Plus, your hot apple cider vinegar drink = cure for a bad case of the Novembers.

  36. 36
    Jill   December 2, 2009 at 6:33 am

    I made this last night and it was fabulous! So fabulous I'm going to have to make it again tonight to go with the leftover veggies and rice.

    Mine was still a little thick even after adding lots of water. Is it not supposed to cook very long? I added quite a bit of water while I was waiting for my rice to cook. And then I tested it and thought it was far to yummy to wait any longer. Hence my leftover rice that needs more sauce tonight.

  37. 37
    kickpleat   December 2, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks Caroline!

    Gemma, glad you enjoyed it.

    Bonne Maman, glad I could be of service 🙂

    Jill, I just had mine simmer slowly and I didn't need to add too much water. I don't think adding water will hurt it in any way. It cooks very quickly. Glad you loved it!

  38. 38
    eatme_delicious   December 6, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Ooo does this ever sound good! I love peanut sauce. Though the 3 tbsp of sriracha/hot sauce in yours might kill me haha.

  39. 39
    liz r.   December 6, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Finally got a chance to try this, and it was SO good, even with the soy nut butter. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe, I'm sure it will become a staple!

  40. 40
    kickpleat   December 7, 2009 at 10:06 am

    eatme, you can certainly reduce the hot sauce! I only use a tablespoon of sriracha and I find the 2 T of chili garlic sauce more flavourful than spicy! However, I'm a hot sauce lover.

    Liz, thanks for the update! Glad it was a great sauce.

  41. 41
    kickpleat   December 8, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Caro, I've never tried to freeze this sauce before but I don't see why it would be a problem.

  42. 42
    Caro   December 8, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Looks yummy, does it freeze well? I am making frozen meals for after baby comes…and would love to add this to the mix. Thanks.

  43. 43
    laura   November 26, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    This IS “teh magic.” We make it all the time, and so does my dad! Although, we definitely reduced the Sriracha!

    I’m going to send my readers your way. I’ve never had a better peanut sauce! 🙂

  44. 44
    kickpleat   November 27, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Laura, I’m so happy to hear it!!!! Yay 🙂

  45. 45
    Molly   March 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I made this last night for chicken satay and my husband can’t stop talking about how much he love, love, LOVED it. I used half of the chili garlic sauce and it was almost too hot for me; you must like it really hot!

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