Peanut Butter Is The Ultimate Pantry Staple To Upgrade Your Pad Thai

Pad thai is a simple and delicious dish that even a novice home cook can easily make and enjoy from the comfort of their own kitchen. The basic recipe for pad thai requires no more than some noodles, a few vegetables, eggs, and a handful of condiments and garnishes. From there, many people customize the dish with their own selection of protein, be it chicken, shrimp, or tofu. These kinds of proteins can be expensive, however, and you may not always have them on hand when the pad thai cravings hit. When that's the case, we recommend reaching for the pantry item you almost certainly have available — peanut butter — to make a hearty, protein-packed sauce.

Peanut sauce is a mainstay of many South Asian cuisines. While it is traditionally made from freshly ground peanuts, peanut butter has become a handy kitchen hack for those who would like to make the sauce more quickly and conveniently. Not only is peanut butter a pantry staple that is affordably priced and easy to obtain — it is also full of protein and healthy fats that help to make your serving of pad thai more filling and flavorful.

How to make peanut sauce from peanut butter

For the best possible results when making your peanut sauce, opt for buying peanut butter that contains no added salt or sugar. This will ensure you have a blank slate when it comes time to season your sauce. Whether you use creamy or crunchy peanut butter is up to you; since pad thai often makes use of whole or crushed peanuts as garnish, either texture is acceptable. To make the sauce, put peanut butter into a pan with garlic and ginger. Add water, lemon or lime juice, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce if you have it on hand, then heat the mixture while stirring until the desired consistency is reached.

You can introduce additional seasonings from your pantry for even more flavor if you prefer. We recommend a smattering of red pepper flakes and a spoonful of chili paste to add some spice. You can also add honey for a bit of sweetness, or coconut milk for a rich and velvety texture. Once the sauce is ready, simply drizzle it over your pad thai, toss to combine, and serve.