vietnamese sate sauce

Vietnamese sate sauce is a garlicky, spicy flavour bomb you can throw at any Asian braise, soup, stir fry or noodle dish. Or smear it on chicken and grill. It’s loaded with big, bold southeast Asian flavours.

This is not that Indonesian peanut sauce for grilled skewers. That’s satay sauce. This is sate sauce. Totally different beast. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be delicious on grilled skewers. But it is not the same.

It’s waiting to be discovered. I see it at some Vietnamese restaurants. It’s a table sauce. For when you just want to add a flavour boost. But I don’t see it anywhere else. Too bad. People are missing out.

It is hot and sweet and salty. Garlicky. With some lemongrass thrown in. Drooling yet? Use it like you would sriracha. It’s a bit hotter maybe but it’s so much better.

There is sriracha in Vietnamese sate sauce. This version anyway. But it’s got so much more going on.

This Vietnamese sate sauce is spicy, not incendiary

There aren’t many recipes for Vietnamese sate sauce out there. Not sure why but they all seem to be very close variations on a theme.

The definitive recipe is the one on Viet World Kitchen. Everybody else has just copied it word for word. That version is damn good but it’s also damn hot. Like yowza hot.

Vietnamese sate is sauce is the thai red curry paste of Vietnam.

The glebekitchen tweak to this recipe is to tone it down. Keep the big, bold taste but dial back the fire. That’s why there’s only a couple Thai chilies.

Mostly it’s red finger hot chilies. All the flavour. Half the heat. Or leave the Thai chilies out altogether. Not so hot at all then.

Why bother doing it this way? Because it’s so good you will want to add more. And more. And more. Then it will be too spicy to eat. For most anyway. Vietnamese sate sauce glebekitchen style. Load it on fearlessly. Enjoy.


Close up of Vietnamese sate sauce in a white bowl.


Vietnamese sate sauce in a white bowl with red chilies.
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4.29 from 14 votes

vietnamese sate sauce

Vietnamese sate sauce makes a great condiment for any asian stew, soup or grilled or roasted poultry.
Course condiment
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword Vietnamese sate sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 1174kcal
Author romain | glebekitchen


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, a neutral oil is key
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, hard exterior removed and coarsely chopped
  • 3-4 fresh finger hot chilies - not the crazy hot ones
  • 1-2 fresh thai hot chilies - these are the crazy hot ones
  • 1 Tbsp dried crushed red chili
  • 2-3 tsp white sugar, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup sriracha sauce
  • salt to taste


  • Using a small food processor chop the garlic, shallot, lemongrass and chilies separately. You want the chilies and lemongrass to be pretty finely chopped. Set the lemongrass and chilies aside.
  • Heat the vegetable oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 10 minutes. It should bubble lightly. You don't want it to colour though. Be careful.
  • Once the garlic has cooked for 10 minutes, add the shallots and cook for another 10 minutes. Watch closely. Burning is bad.
  • After 20 minutes add the lemongrass and cook another 10 minutes or so.
  • Once the lemongrass has cooked about 10 minutes add the fresh, chopped red chilies and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the crushed chilies and cook another 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the fish sauce and sugar. Cook another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Mix in the sriracha sauce. Taste and adjust for salt.


This sate sauce will keep in the fridge for a month or more. Use it in asian stews, soups or mix it with a bit of mayonnaise and use it in sandwiches.
If you want it even milder leave out the Thai chilies altogether.


Serving: 10servings | Calories: 1174kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 111g | Saturated Fat: 89g | Sodium: 4450mg | Potassium: 1333mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 5725IU | Vitamin C: 315.9mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 4.9mg


10 thoughts on “vietnamese sate sauce”

  1. Breathtaking. I veganized it using soy sauce instead of fish and added a squeeze of lemon. And although I’m not sure how to chop the lemongrass so it’s not fibrous as hell, I still LOVE IT. Defenitely gonna make again. TYSM!

    • You are very welcome. Lemongrass is easier to deal with if you are more aggressive in removing outer layers. The inside is actually semi-tender.

    • You could probably cut back a bit on the oil but you’d have challenges getting the flavours/cooking it. The fish sauce is kind of fundamental to the dish but if you do leave it out you’ll need to add salt.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Romain, 5 stars is not enough! Hooray-food again! Yesterday we combined it with the ginger beef stir fry, as you suggested. We had some sate sauce left, so tonight we combined in a fusion way. With North-African shawarma! And it worked out excellently! It added so much flavor to the meat that the whole taste got extremely layered and spicy. As you wrote, you can throw this sate at anything, but apparently not only at Asian food…and again we have a very little leftover from the sauce, and even that goes back in the fridge. We do not want to waste anything! A perfect recipe, thanks again! Regards, Daniel&Wiesje.

    • Hooray! I’m going to start trying it with non-Asian recipes now. Love the out-of-the-box thinking! Thank you for that:-)

4.29 from 14 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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