This delicious paleo satay sauce is made with roasted cashews instead of peanuts. It’s more mellow but is still deliciously sweet, spicy and salty, and very aromatic.
Satay, also known as sate, refers to a dish of grilled or barbecued skewers of diced marinated meat, served with a side of spicy, savoury sauce such as satay peanut sauce. The satay skewers originated in Indonesia but are commonly found in most of South East Asia. In this post, I show you how to to make a paleo satay sauce specifically but you can also make some delicious satay chicken skewers using this sauce.
Usually, satay sauce is made with peanuts and many recipes will actually include peanut butter as the key ingredient. As tasty as peanuts are, a lot of people can be allergic to them and they are not strictly paleo (being a legume). I’ve replaced them with roasted cashews which create a much more mellow satay flavour as they are not as sweet and pungent.
The paleo satay sauce has a lot of sweetness coming from coconut, cashews and honey, but you only eat a small amount as it’s so rich and full of flavour.
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Paleo Satay Sauce with Cashews
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 2-3 cups 1x
- Category: Sauce
- Cuisine: Malaysian/Thai
This delicious paleo satay sauce is made with roasted cashews instead of peanuts. It’s more mellow but is still deliciously sweet, pungent and aromatic.
- 3 small red chillies, deseeded and roughly diced
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly diced
- 1 stalk lemon grass, outer layer removed and roughly diced
- 3 small shallots, peeled and roughly diced
- 1 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 cups unsalted, raw cashews
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 150ml coconut milk
- 1/2 lime, juice
- 3 tablespoons coconut aminos sauce (or 2 1/2 tbsp Tamari wheat free soy sauce)
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 + 1/2 tablespoon honey
- You will need a food processor or a large mortar and pestle, and/or a blender
Process chillies, garlic, lemongrass and shallots to a smooth paste in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to grind all ingredients together.
Heat coconut oil in a small saucepan. Add the ground paste and fry for about 4-5 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. The mixture will start caramelising and browning slightly.
Meanwhile, heat another frying pan over medium heat and toast cashew nuts for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. You will be stirring the nuts and the mixture in parallel.
Add turmeric and curry powder to the mix and stir through for 20 seconds to release the aromas. Add one cup of water to the cooking paste and bring to boil.
Grind toasted cashews into crumbs using a food processor. Add to the cooking mixture together with coconut milk, lime juice, coconut aminos and fish sauce. Bring to boil and then bring the heat down to simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and add honey, a good pinch of salt (about 2/3 teaspoon) and another half a cup of water. Cook for a further 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently as the mixture will start thickening and caramelising. Take off the heat and transfer to a blender to further process into a smooth paste, add a little more water if needed.
Store the sauce in the fridge in a clean, airtight jar. It will thicken in the fridge, so reheat with a little water when using again.
This recipe makes about three cups of the sauce, which you’re obviously not going to devour in one sitting unless feeding a crowd. Store in an airtight container or a sterilised jar in a fridge for a week or two. You can also use it with some grilled or steamed vegetables (think Indonesian Gado Gado dish) or with fish or prawns.
Hi Irena, thank you for the fabulous recipe! We made this is our thermomix tonight and it was so easy and super delicious! I only made a third of the recipe as I wanted to try it out before making a big batch and oh my goodness it was delicious! Can’t wait to make a big batch next time! Kylie
Thank you Kylie!
Irena, this recipe is amazing. Thank you so much. I made it for my birthday party buffet and it was a huge success. People ended up using it as a dip for veggies and put it onto ciabatta bread. Usually I am considered the “weird one with the strange food” – this and your chicken satay made a huge contribution to helping people understand paleo isn’t about restricting yourself but about indulging on good food! Happy holidays from Germany 🙂
Oh thank you Julia, this makes me very happy. Have a great holidays season too 🙂 I was in Germany just over a month ago. x
Love this sauce!!! Can I freeze this?
You probably can! When defrosting, reheat it with a little water to thin it out.
Hi Irena I am wondering if this recipe would be ok to freeze?
Hey Emilie, I haven’t frozen it before but I don’t see why it wouldn’t. When defrosted, you might need to reheat it with a little water to dilute it if it’s too thick.