+ Well Nourished | Healthy Satay Sauce (sans peanuts)

Healthy Satay Sauce (sans peanuts)

I love recipes that are versatile and I think this healthy Satay Sauce is just that.  Like all my recipes it is very simple to make and I really love the delicate balance of Asian flavours which are perfect for both a light summer-time meal and a warming winter meal.

Why is it healthy?
I like to make this with cashew nuts (mostly because the risk of exposure to aflatoxin via peanuts scares me a little).  Cashews are a nutrient dense, high fibre and high protein nut and I just love the taste of them.  My Satay recipe is of the whole food kind, unlike many of the store bought ‘simmer’ style sauces.

These processed sauces are nowhere near as tasty and contain dangerous additives and massive amounts of sugar (about half a cup of the sweet stuff in most jars I looked at).  Two of the concerning additives I came across repeatedly are Caramel 1, which according to Additive Alert by Julie Eady, is linked to ‘gastrointestinal problems and hypersensitivity’ and 407 which is ‘a suspected carcinogen, linked to ulcerative colitis, damaging to the immune system and there is a concern re- birth defects.’  They also warn ‘do not give to infants and young children.’

So let’s just nourish our bodies every which way and make our own with this fast, simple recipe!

Makes approx. 1 ½ cups

100gram (⅔ cup) raw cashew nuts, lightly toasted
1 medium-sized red onion, peeled and halved
2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely diced
1-2 cm piece ginger, peeled
2 stalks lemongrass, inner core only
1 tablespoon extra virgin coconut oil, ghee or butter
125ml (½ cup)  coconut milk (I like Ayam brand)
1 tablespoon rice malt syrup or coconut sugar (optional)
1 red chilli, finely diced  (optional)
1 tablespoon tamari
Juice of half of one lime


  • In a food processor, pulse the cashews until they are just chopped (I like a bit of texture or the Satay will be too creamy). Set aside.
  • Now add the red onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass to the processor and process to a rough paste (if you don’t have a processor you can finely grate them or pound in a mortar and pestle).
  • Over a low heat, melt your fat and add the onion mix.  Saute for a few minutes until the onion starts to soften.
  • Then add the chopped cashews, coconut milk, optional chili, sweetener and 125ml (1/2 cup of water).
  • Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  • Stir in the tamari and lime juice and taste it.  Adjust the heat (chilli), saltiness (tamari), sweetness (rice syrup or coconut sugar) and sour flavours (lime juice) to your taste, if necessary.
  • Delicious served one of the ways below and with lime cheeks and fresh coriander leaves.

Sub peanuts

Sub toasted sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon of tahini

Use rice malt syrup as your sweetener

No-spice (heat)
Leave out the chilli (and ginger if really sensitive)

Now here’s the fun bit…

Serve over meat skewers with steamed rice or quinoa

Indonesian Gado Gado style is a quick, healthy summertime meal (as pictured).  I use a mix of steamed and raw vegetables and boiled eggs.  Here we have raw red cabbage, celery, cucumber, and capsicum.  Steamed cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus (I’d usually add green beans too).  The nice thing about eating this way is that the whole family can share and pick and choose what they want

This is delicious served with vegetables (as above) and tempeh

Thin the sauce with water or more coconut milk and drizzle it over satay sticks

Wrap or rice paper rolls
Grill some meat, toss with the satay sauce and wrap in mountain bread or rice paper rolls with lots of  julienned vegetables

Lettuce cups
Grill some meat, toss with the satay sauce and serve with salad, Asian herbs, and vegetables in lettuce cups


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