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Paleo Satay Sauce with Cashews



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. This post is about the 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, they are not actually that great for us, so I’ve replaced them with cashews which created a much more mellow satay flavour as they are not as sweet and pungent. The sauce is still like Paleo candy with 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
Cook time
Total time
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 air-tight 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. You will need a food processor or a large mortar and pestle,  and a blender of some sort.
Cuisine: Malaysian/Thai
Serves: 3 cups
  • 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 dice
  • 1½ tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3 cups unsalted, raw cashews
  • 1½ cups water
  • 150ml coconut milk
  • ½ lime, juice
  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos sauce (or 2½ tbsp Tamari wheat free soy sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1½ tablespoon honey
  1. Process chillies, garlic, lemon grass and shallots to a smooth paste in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle to grind all ingredients together.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 ⅔ 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.
  6. Store in the fridge in a sterilised, air-tight jar. To sterilise the jar, give it a good wash and then rinse the lid and the jar with boiling water.

Step by step photos for making the paleo satay sauce

satay sauce paleo recipe

paleo satay sauce recipe
paleo satay sauce recipe

paleo satay sauce recipe


  1. 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 :-)

  2. 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

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