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Thai Spicy Peanut Sauce Recipe (Nam Jim Tua)

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Thai spicy peanut sauce recipe for lettuce wraps, grilled fish, and even chicken satay. This easy-to-make nam jim tua tad is a tasty blend of fiery chilies, umami-rich fish sauce, and tangy lime, all lovingly ground together with a traditional mortar and pestle. All your favorite flavors rolled into one in just 10 minutes, it’s the perfect dipping sauce for practically everything.

Thai spicy peanut sauce, nam jim tua, in a sauce cup with grilled shrimp, rice vermicelli, and green lettuce.

Also try my authentic Thai peanut sauce recipe, it’s the perfect crowd-pleaser, made with peanuts and suited for kids!

What is nam jim tua

Nam jim tua is a traditional Thai peanut dipping sauce, beloved for its balanced blend of spicy, tangy, salty, and sweet flavors. It can be paired with anything from fresh vegetables to shrimp and grilled meat.

Peanut sauce for lettuce wraps

This spicy peanut sauce is an absolute wonder with my grilled Thai shrimp lettuce wraps recipe! Its nutty taste and spiciness perfectly complement the smoky, charred notes of the shrimp.

Shrimp lettuce wraps with peanut sauce, fresh vegetables, rice vermicelli, coriander, and chilies.

It’s truly an easy all-rounder.

Fantastic with fresh, crunchy vegetables like yard long beans, lettuce, and Thai eggplants.

Spicy topping? Yes please! Drizzle it over Thai shrimp rolls or fresh spring rolls and watch them disappear from the table.

Thai spicy peanut sauce with fresh vegetables and grilled shrimp.

You’ll love it with pla pao (grilled fish). Add rice vermicelli, lots of vegetables, and you’ve got yourself a healthy, authentic Thai meal.

In Thailand, we pair it with vegetable wraps, shrimp, and grilled chicken like these Thai chicken wings.

Thai spicy peanut sauce recipe

One drip of this sauce is enough to give a whirlwind of spicy, nutty goodness to anything it touches.

Spicy Thai peanut sauce, nam jim tua, in a sauce cup with fresh vegetables, rice vermicelli, and grilled shrimp on the side.

It’s ridiculously easy to make. Just a few simple ingredients, a bit of pounding, and you’ve got yourself a spicy dipping sauce that’s downright delicious.

Peanut bar on a banana leaf.
Peanut bar is a key ingredient for making authentic nam jim tua tad.

Don’t be afraid to adjust the heat level to your taste. For a fiery sauce, add more chilies. For a mild sauce, go easy on the chilies or pick a less spicy variety. It’s all about making it right for you!

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Ingredients for Thai spicy peanut sauce: coriander root, chilies, garlic, water, fish sauce, lime juice, and peanut bars.
  • Coriander root: Coriander root is a staple in Thai cooking for adding an aromatic depth and earthy note.
  • Peanut bar: In Thailand, we don’t use peanut butter. This nam jim tua tad recipe is traditionally made with peanut bars, which are readily available at Asian markets or Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find them, you can order something similar at Amazon.
  • Fish sauce: Thai food wouldn’t be complete without fish sauce, right? It infuses our dishes with a rich umami and salty flavor. It gives this Thai spicy peanut sauce its salty character and balances the sweet and spicy flavors.
  • Chilies: Jinda chilies are Thai chilies that offer a moderate amount of heat. They’re perfect for adding a good amount of spice without overwhelming the other flavors. Still, it made the sauce quite hot. If you don’t eat spicy food daily, use a milder type of chili or reduce the amount of fresh chilies used in this recipe.
  • Garlic: When crushed, garlic releases its natural oils and flavors, making the sauce incredibly aromatic and yummy.
  • Water: Water is crucial for the right sauce consistency, making it dip-able and melding the flavors together.
  • Lime: Fresh lime juice is essential for adding a bright, tangy flavor that elevates the sauce. It adds a refreshing note that simply makes things better.

How to make spicy dipping sauce for shrimp

Taste-test: Before serving, make sure to taste-test. Thai cooking is all about balancing the flavors – the spicy, salty, sweet, and sour.

Chili garlic paste in stone mortar.

1. Crush chilies, garlic, and coriander root into a fine paste with a mortar and pestle.

Chili garlic and peanut paste crushed in a stone mortar.

2. Pound peanut bar into the paste.

Thai spicy peanut sauce ready in stone mortar.

3. Lastly, mix in water, lime juice, and fish sauce. Make sure the sauce is well mixed. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before serving, so the flavors have time to meld together.

Like spicy Thai sauces? You’ll love nam jim seafood and prik nam pla, they’re both super easy to make at home.

Kitchen tools

  • Measuring spoons and cups for measuring the ingredients
  • Granite mortar and pestle for making the sauce

How to serve

Nam jim tua is incredibly versatile. Here is a complete list of Thai appetizers, side, and snack options to get your party started!

How to store spicy Thai peanut sauce

Store your sauce in an airtight container like a mason jar in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for about a week, and the flavors will intensify over time. Before serving, give it a good stir.

Frequently asked questions

How spicy is nam jim tua?

The spiciness varies on the amount and type of chilies used. You can easily adjust the number of chilies to suit your taste. Use mild chilies or remove the seeds to decrease the heat.

Is this spicy peanut sauce suited for vegetarians?

No, this recipe is made with fish sauce. You can use a vegetarian fish sauce alternative, but the flavors won’t be identical.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yes! This recipe is perfect to save time at your gatherings. Just make it in advance, store it in the fridge, and give it a stir when you’re ready to serve.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

All ingredients are gluten-free. Ensure you use a gluten-free fish sauce, as some brands may sneak in some gluten-containing ingredients.

More Thai dipping sauces you’ll love

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Thai Spicy Peanut Sauce Recipe (Nam Jim Tua)

Thai spicy peanut sauce, nam jim tua, in a sauce cup with grilled shrimp, rice vermicelli, and green lettuce.
Thai spicy peanut sauce recipe, perfect with seafood, grilled meats, fresh vegetables, and more!
Praew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course Dipping sauce
Serving Size 6 people

Ingredients

  • 4 chilies add to taste
  • 3 garlic
  • 3 coriander root
  • 2 tablespoons lime
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2.8 ounces peanut bar
  • 3 tablespoons water

Instructions

  • Crush chilies, garlic, and coriander root into a fine paste with a mortar and pestle.
  • Pound peanut bar into the paste.
  • Lastly, mix in water, lime juice, and fish sauce. Make sure the sauce is well mixed. Let it sit for a couple of minutes before serving, so the flavors have time to meld together.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.

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