Made with just 3 ingredients, this Thai peanut sauce with curry paste and coconut milk is a great way to introduce spicy flavor to babies and kids. Also enjoy as a dip, salad/pasta dressing, or marinade.
If you enjoy spicy food and your ethnic cuisine incorporates a lot of heat, you probably want to introduce these foods to your baby at some point. I am Korean and spicy foods, like kimchi and red chili paste, are my family's jam!
But if you're like most parents I've talked to, you may have a lot of questions and reservations. I've covered the top burning questions in the FAQ section below.
Personally, I LOVE Thai cuisine. So much so that I've taken many cooking classes to learn how to make all of my favorite dishes at home. Thai curry paste is a staple ingredient in my pantry and my kids were exposed to it since they were around 12 months.
Which Thai Curry Paste to use for this Peanut Sauce?
Red curry paste
There are several varieties that you can use for this sauce. But red curry paste is the most versatile, and it's what I always have on hand. It is quite spicy so if you choose to use this one, start with just ½ teaspoon. You can always add more after seeing how your baby handles it.
Keep in mind that dried Asian chilies, one of the main ingredients in curry paste, are milder than those from other parts of the world, like the Caribbean and Mexico.
Massaman Curry Paste
Massaman curry paste is also a great choice. This is a really unique one in that it contains ingredients that are commonly found in Indian and Persian cuisine, such as cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, and nutmeg along with Thai ingredients, like lemongrass and galangal. It's a lovely melding of these two cuisines.
It tastes slightly smokey, nutty, and mildly spicy.
Yellow Curry Paste (Kaeng Kari)
If you really want to avoid the heat but want to introduce your child to the Thai flavors, go with this one. With turmeric as one of its main ingredients, it is mild and slightly sweet tasting. It also contains cinnamon, mace, lemongrass, fenugreek, and coriander.
Curry paste - choose any of the ones suggested above. I like the maesri brand. It is less spicier than others and more flavorful
Coconut milk - The key ingredient in helping mellow out the spice from the curry paste. It will also help loosen the peanut butter into a velvety consistency. Since there are only three ingredients, you really want to use a good one without any emulsifiers and stabilizers. I've found that Arroy-D and Chaokoh work best.
Smooth peanut butter - You can use homemade or store-bought. Just make sure the only ingredient is peanuts and nothing else. If it's been refrigerated, be sure to bring to room temperature so it will blend easily with the other ingredients.
Related: Peanuts and Nuts for Babies
How to make Peanut Sauce for babies and kids
Simply whisk the 3 ingredients together!
Tips for Success
- After whisking all the ingredients together, if you desire a thinner consistency, add more coconut milk (one tablespoon at a time) or water if you feel it's plenty coconut-y tasting. Let your taste buds guide you.
- For a touch of freshness and a burst of flavor, add some cilantro and lime juice.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should continue eating what you enjoy! If that means spicy dishes, go for it! I don't know what I'd do without my kimchi! In fact, it will be beneficial since your baby will be exposed to those flavors that frequently grace your table from early on through breast milk. This can help them to accept those foods later on in life.
Of course if your baby shows any kind of reaction, fussiness, or intolerance, then avoid that food.
If you've been told you have to serve bland foods to your baby, please ignore such misinformed advice! You can absolutely and should introduce your baby to all the incredible herbs and spices from the start.
They will certainly help pack in lots of flavor and nutrition (hello antioxidants!) without the use of salt and sugar. Train your child's palate to accept a variety of flavors from early on!
While hot spices can be introduced as soon as they're ready to start solids, you want to be careful as you don't want to cause your baby any pain, which can create negative associations with food.
Therefore, start with the aromatic spices first, like cinnamon, ginger, cumin, coriander, and turmeric. There's no set recommended age for when you can introduce your baby to more fiery ones.
Start slowly! To provide a few examples: rinse kimchi in water, sprinkle a tiny amount of cayenne pepper on yogurt or fruit, or like in this recipe, add some curry paste to a sauce or a larger meal
You can try this with tree nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews), tahini, or sunflower/pumpkin seed butter.
Since you only need a teaspoon for this recipe, you can freeze the rest. Measure leftovers into 1 teaspoon dollops and place them on a plate or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure they're not touching so they freeze individually. Freeze until firm.
Transfer to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. You will be able to easily pull out exactly how much you need at any given time.
Store in an air tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. It will taste better with time as the flavors get a chance to meld. It will thicken up upon refrigeration so stir in a little more water or coconut milk to desired consistency.
- Stir it in with pasta, lentils, oatmeal, quinoa
- as a salad dressing
- as a spread for toast, sandwiches, or wraps
- As a dip for raw or cooked vegetables or spring rolls!
- As a marinade for chicken, pork, tofu
Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!
3 Ingredient Thai Peanut Coconut Sauce
- ⅓ cup peanut butter (about 85g), at room temperature , see note
- ¼ cup coconut milk (may need more to achieve desired consistency)
- ½-1 teaspoon curry paste of choice
- In a 2 cup measuring beaker, add all the ingredients. Whisk until well combined. This will be a great consistency for a dip. If you want to enjoy as a sauce or dressing, add more coconut milk or water (1 tablespoon at a time) to desired consistency