Sate Chili Sauce

As I wandered my way through fermented hot sauce links and recipes online, I found a recipe for sate chili sauce. This is one of my favorite sauces in the world, but I’ve never known how to make it. Now that I know what is in it (garlic, lemongrass, chili, fish sauce, need I say more???  delicious!) and the general process, my head is spinning – the possibilities are endless. Here is my first attempt sticking fairly close to the original recipe:

Ingredients: (pulled from Viet World Kitchen)

  • Four cloves of garlic, pureed
  • One large shallot, pureed
  • Three stalks of lemongrass, whizzed in a food processor but allow it to keep some texture (cut the tough green tops off)
  • One cup of peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup of fresno chilis (the recipe calls for thai bird chilis), whizzed in a food processor but allow it to keep some texture
  • 1/2 cup crushed chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanut
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Two tablespoons sriacha sauce (I used cock brand)


1) Pour the peanut oil into a small saucepan with the garlic and turn the heat onto medium-low.  Listen to the oil as it heats and once it starts to bubble turn the heat down to low.  The oil is there to draw the flavour very slowly out of the garlic rather than fry it.  It’s as if the garlic is having a nice hot tub.  After about five minutes, add the pureed shallots and let the garlic and shallots mix and mingle in the oil.

The smell in your kitchen is unbelievably delicious at this point and just wait, it only gets better as the recipe continues.

2) Once the shallots and garlic have mingled for about ten minutes, add the lemongrass.  Keep in mind that you are not trying to cook any of the ingredients quickly, they are being slowly, slowly eased into the sauce.  You will know that the lemongrass is ready once it has sunk to the bottom of the saucepan.

I decided at this point to add some chopped peanuts.  The original recipe didn’t call for peanuts but I just love the richness they add and the way they echo the peanut oil.  The texture they give is also lovely.  Give the peanuts at least five minutes.

3) The process now starts to get exciting as the chilis and chili flakes are added.  The pureed chilis go in first and as they simmer their color leaks out into the sauce turning it a lovely burnt orange color.

Then add the chili flakes and continue to allow the simmering and drawing out of flavour.  Once you feel you have bathed all of your ingredients in oil for long enough, add the remaining ingredients: fish sauce, sugar, salt, sriacha.

Taste, adjust and enjoy.

What to use it for:

  • Everything
  • Dipping sauce
  • Stir fry sauce
  • Yeah, I mean, everything.  This sauce is just so yummy and flavourful that it can be used on just about anything you eat

The verdict: Not as much of a quick burn as the fermented hot sauce.  This could be because I used fresno peppers rather than thai bird chilis.  There is also obviously a lower percentage of chilis, mmmm lemongrass and garlic and shallots.  Having said that though the sauce is still quite hot.  The burn is just a little slower.


Shonagh writes An Offal Experiment exploring the guts of food

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