While some of the ingredients are already familiar to you, like peanut butter, you may be less familiar with some of the others, like fish sauce or massaman curry paste. If you're located in Seattle Southside, finding these ingredients is as easy as a trip to Lam's Seafood. If you're located elsewhere, your local Asian grocery store should carry these items, or you may be able to order them online.
This flavorful, umami-forward sauce is made from fermented anchovies and is commonly found in a lot of Southeast Asian cuisine. Can't do fish? Soy sauce can be used in a pinch, but will have a slightly different flavor profile.
Massaman Curry Paste
Cans of curry paste, called prik gaeng in Thai, are a convenient way to make all kinds of curries, as they take the guesswork out of blending spices and creating the thickening base of the sauce. But these pastes have other applications, as we see in this recipe, where it perfectly seasons and gives depth to the flavor of the peanut sauce.
Made from the sap of palm trees, this sugar usually comes in small cakes and has a rich, nutty, caramely flavor. This recipe calls for one of those small cakes, but if you can only get the palm sugar in a large cake, cut off a portion of it that's roughly equivalent to 1/3 cup. Can't get any palm sugar at all? Light brown sugar will work if you must, but it'll be missing some of the authentic, nuanced flavor you can only get from palm sugar.
While this may seem like a more familiar ingredient, you should think through your choices when picking a peanut butter. This recipe calls for a chunky peanut butter. Not a fan of peanut pieces? You can substitute smooth peanut butter.
No chunky on hand? You can add chopped peanuts on top of the sauce before serving for some extra crunch. Because different brands of peanut butter have slightly different flavors in terms of the sweet/salty balance, the final step of the recipe is adding salt or sugar to taste to balance out the flavor of the sauce to your liking.