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How to Make Vegan Sate

I have used sate in a few recipes lately (in Bun Bo Hue, Stir-fry Udon Noodles, etc.), so I thought it would be more practical to have a go-to page for the recipe.

Making sate is easy, and it keeps for a long time, plus there is no blender/food processor needed. Just one pan!


Sate is a spicy Asian condiment. There are many different types of sate. Some include peanuts as the main ingredient, and some come in powder form, while others are more liquid.

Here I’m sharing a Vietnamese-inspired sate recipe. I would say it is closer to a flavored oil rather than a paste. It can be used in noodle soups to add spiciness and richness to the broth, in marinades for tofu/tempeh/seitan, or even as a base for a dipping sauce. It’s versatile, and it quickly became one of my favorite condiments to add flavor to dishes!

How to Make Vegan Sate


This recipe requires just 8 ingredients plus one that is totally optional.

  • Vegetable oil: Use a neutral oil like canola or grapeseed oil that has little to no flavor. You don’t want to use coconut oil, or it will harden at room temperature. For extra flavor, feel free to add a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil.
  • Annatto seeds: While totally optional, the addition of annatto seeds gives the sate a nice red/orange hue.
  • Lemongrass: This is the aromatic that gives the sate its main flavor. It’s citrusy, with hints of ginger.
  • Chili: There is no sate without some spiciness!
  • Garlic: While this sate is not super garlicky, it does add extra flavor.
  • Shallots: I went with shallots as they are less pungent than onions, plus they give the sate a natural sweetness.
  • Ground chili: For extra spiciness.
  • Salt and sugar: You can use white sugar or coconut sugar, although I had the best results with maple syrup as it tends to mix better with the oil.

How to Make Vegan Sate


To give the saté its bright red color, you want to fry annatto seeds in oil for a couple of minutes. Annatto seeds are a natural red food coloring and have a subtle peppery aroma.

Then, slice the lemongrass, chili, garlic, and shallots very finely. If you want to save time, put everything in a food processor and process until finely minced.

Next, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add the minced aromatics and fry for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the ground chili, salt, and maple syrup, and let it cool completely before transferring to a jar. Done!

How to Make Vegan Sate


Before using, make sure to give it a good stir unless you just want to use only the flavored oil.

  • Soups: Stir in a tablespoon of sate in soups to add a nice kick of flavor!
  • Vegetable Stir-Fries: Use the oil to fry veggies and add spiciness as well as a subtle citrusy flavor.
  • Marinades: Combined with peanut or almond butter and soy sauce, it makes a great marinade for tofu, tempeh, or even seitan.
  • Dipping sauce: Dilute with a little bit of water, maple syrup, soy sauce, and lime juice for a delicious spring roll dipping sauce.
  • Noodles: Mix into noodles for spicy lemongrass noodles!
  • Hummus? I have yet to try this one, but I’m thinking stirring a tablespoon or two of sate into hummus might take it to another level.

How to Make Vegan Sate

Sate is a great condiment to use when you want to add spiciness as well as more flavor to almost any dish! If you are looking for more spicy condiments, you might like this chili paste or this fermented tofu!

Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!

How to Make Vegan Sate

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How to Make Vegan Satay

How to Make Vegan Sate

5 from 7 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Vietnamese-inspired sate infused with lemongrass, shallots, garlic, and chili! A delicious condiment to take your dishes to another level!
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cook Time : 5 minutes
Total Time : 15 minutes
Servings 0.5 cup
Calories 118 kcal


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp annatto seeds
  • 4 stalks of lemongrass about 1/4 cup minced
  • 4 small chili
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp ground chili I used Korean chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or coconut/white sugar


  • In a medium saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over low-medium heat. Once hot, add the annatto seeds and fry for about 2 minutes or until the oil has turned red. Strain the seeds and discard them, keeping the oil. Add the oil back to the saucepan.
  • Slice very finely the lemongrass stalks (only the white parts, discard the greens), chilis, shallots, and garlic. To save time, you can process everything in a food processor until finely minced. Add the minced aromatics to the saucepan and fry for about 2 minutes. You don't want to fry them too long, or the aromatics might burn, so keep an eye on it.
  • Remove from heat, add the ground chili, salt, and maple syrup, and stir to combine. Let it cool completely at room temperature before transferring to a clean jar.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Use in soups, marinades, stir-fries, noodles, etc. Make sure to give it a good stir before using.


Serving: 1 tbsp | Calories: 118 kcal | Carbohydrates: 2 g | Protein: 0.2 g | Fat: 12.5 g | Fiber: 0.1 g | Sugar: 0.6 g
Course : Condiment
Cuisine : Vietnamese
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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Hi Thomas,
think you meant sambal:
satay is grilled meat on a stick. Or tofu etc.
This looks like a tasty marinade for satay; will try it.
Perhaps I will add turmeric to be authentic.
Bet you have a good peanut sauce (kecap kacang) to go with.

What type of ground chili are you using?

5 stars
Finally made this Sate this afternoon and it was so delicious! I didn’t have Annatto but I know from making other homemade chilli oils it will likely redden over time from the chilli powder etc. I have a steady supply of “Firecracker” and “Diablo” chillies growing in the garden at the moment so it’s was nice to put them to use in this. I look forward to use the Sate as a dumpling dipping sauce, drizzling over noodles and as a finishing touch on Asian style soups, cheers!

Can this be made without oil somehow? I don’t eat oil for health reasons. Any suggestions?

I made this with oil today to test it out ( it was really good) but am going to make it without next time for health reasons as well (while detoxing and cleansing). I’ll just add a touch of water and reduce the recipe to just what I need for what I am making. It wont be the same but it will still add some flavour and heat.

5 stars
I guess you can make a spicy chutney. It will be without oil. Add roasted peanuts and sesame with the rest of the ingredients from the top. We often make this kind of chutney.

5 stars
This is so delicious! One should always keep a jar in the fridge to put on whatever needs a flavor boost.


5 stars
Hey Thomas! I discovered this recipe of yours because I wanted to make the crispy rice-paper sandwiches right and oh my god what a spicy treasure! Ii’s definitely going to be one of my new favorites 🙂 I finished a first batch that has been severely attacked already and am about to cook another one. I used it on top of a buddha bowl also: delicious! Thanks again!
The crispy sandwiches were excellent also, btw!
Thank you again for the quality of your recipes.

5 stars
This is the recipe I needed in my life! Thank you!
I just made it yesterday but I already know this will be a staple.
Anyone who loves lemongrass and spice needs this condiment on everything.

5 stars
Just wanted to drop in to say I still make this regularly.

Sometimes I make it without any chili at all, so that my kid can enjoy it, and then I use it plus a little chili for myself 🙂

5 stars
This is so good and exactly what I was looking for when I was craving vegan sate soup and found your site. My seeds came in today so I made a batch and added to soup, everyone liked it! Love how you make everything from scratch.