If you like chili oil noodles or any spicy noodles, you will love this Vietnamese take on it with satế.

Satế is a Vietnamese chili oil made with shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and chilis. We always have a jar of satế in the fridge and the other day I whipped up this super easy barely an inconvenience pasta that was out of my mind good.

Your next bowl of spicy noodles

The luxuriousness of the butter with the spiciness and herbaceousness of the chili oil was so good I could have just slurped it up with a spoon. Add in some chewy toothsome noodles for the sauce to cling to and a hit of freshness from herbs and you have the perfect weeknight spicy noodles recipe!

spicy noodles | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is satế

Satế, in this case, Vietnamese chili lemongrass satế or ớt satế (pronounced just like its close cousin satay), is a magical spicy chili oil flavor bomb! It’s essentially a flavored chili oil that adds salty, garlicky, sweet, warming heat with a background note of fresh herbaceousness.

Satế is the main flavoring ingredient in our bun bo hue but it is also used as a finishing and flavoring oil also on everything else: as a marinade for meats, stir-fries, eggs, vegetables, rice, you name it, this satế will make it better.

If you like Chinese chili crisp, you’ll LOVE satế. It has a lightness and freshness thanks to the lemongrass and is super addictive.

sate | www.iamafoodblog.com

Where to get satế

If you live near a Vietnamese grocery store you can buy premade satế. A popular brand is Cholimex, which sounds not all that authentic but is actually from Vietnam. It’s available online from smaller independent shops, although Amazon sometimes carries it. Go for either the ớt satế or the ớt satế tôm, which is a shrimp infused version that’s all kinds of umami. Or save yourself the hassle and make Mike’s not-so-secret-anymore very authentic secret satế recipe below.

cholimex sate | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make satế

For such a complex addictive flavor, satế is incredibly easy to make.

  1. Prep: You can use your food processor to do most of the work, but I recommend mincing your lemongrass before putting it in the food processor.
  2. Chop: Add the lemongrass, Thai chilis, garlic, and shallot to a food processor and process until very fine. You can also do this by hand if you don’t have a food processor.
  3. Cook: Heat up some neutral oil in a small pot over medium high heat. When it’s hot, add in the lemongrass-garlic-shallot paste and cook, stirring, for a minute or until everything smells amazingly fragrant.
  4. Finish: Remove the pot from the heat and stir in some chili flakes, sugar, and fish sauce. That’s it, you’re done!

sate for bun bo hue | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to prep lemongrass

If you’ve never prepped lemongrass before, don’t be intimidated. It’s super simple and adds SO much flavor. Here’s how to prep it:

  1. Trim: Use a heavy knife to cut off the root and tips and discard. Give the stalks a rinse.
  2. Peel: Remove the outer leaves – these guys tend to be tough. You can save them for infusing broths.
  3. Pound: Use a heavy rolling pin to lightly bruise the stalks. This will cause the lemongrass to separate out into fibers/strings. You can also use your knife to cut the lemongrass lengthwise.
  4. Mince: Use a heavy knife to mince into small pieces.

OR you can use a microplane and grate it. I haven’t done this, but my mother-in-law does and she says it’s the best thing ever and I trust her because she makes the best Vietnamese food.

Satế ingredients

  • Shallot – The classic allium in Vietnamese chili oil: shallots are delicate and sweet with just a hint of sharpness.
  • Lemongrass – Lemongrass makes up the bulk of the satế and adds a fresh herbaceous. Make sure you trim and remove the outer stalks and mince before placing in your food processor. Lemongrass is tough and has to potential to burn out the motor.
  • Garlic – Lots of garlic for that flavor we all know and love.
  • Fresh Thai chilis – This satế uses a mix of fresh chilis and dried so you get the best of both world. If you like spice, you can add extra Thai chilis.
  • Chili flakes – The dried chili flakes add a hint of smokiness and also the ruby-red color. We like to use dried Sichuan chili flakes.
  • Sugar – A bit of sugar balances out and highlights the spice.
  • Fish sauce – A huge hit of umami added the at the end for saltiness and flavor. Use a high quality first press one like Red Boat, or any of them that say mắm nhĩ on the bottle.
  • Shrimp paste – mắm ruốc huế, a bright pink shrimp paste that’s a specialty of Hue adds a HUGE hit of umami and depth of flavor. If you can find it, it will take your satế to another level. If you can’t find it, don’t sweat it ?

hue shrimp paste | www.iamafoodblog.com

What else can you do with satế besides spicy noodles

spicy noodles with cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

Vietnamese Garlic Chili Lemongrass Butter Noodles

Satế is the secret ingredient to these super easy, super tasty spicy noodles.
Serves 2
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 8 oz pasta your favorite shape!
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp satế see below for homemade
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese finely grated
  • 1/2 cup herbs eg mint, cilantro or green onions, if desired

Homemade Satế

  • 3 stalks lemongrass minced
  • 1 shallot roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 Thai bird’s eye chili
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil eg grapeseed or canola
  • 1/4 cup chili flakes Chinese preferred
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste mắm ruốc, optional


  • Make the satế if needed: Trim the tops and bottoms of the lemongrass, remove the tough outer layers and mince. Add the minced lemongrass to a food processor along with the shallot, garlic, and Thai chilies. Pulse into a fine paste.
    Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the satế paste and fry, stirring, just until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chili flakes, sugar, fish sauce, and shrimp paste (if using). Let cool then place in a jar or airtight container. The satế will keep in the fridge for up to several weeks.
    sate for bun bo hue | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Once the satế is ready, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook 3 minutes shy of al dente. Drain well, reserving 1½ cups pasta water.
    pappardelle draining | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Melt the butter along with the satế in a large sauté pan over medium heat, then add 1/2 cup the pasta water and whisk until the sauce emulsifies and comes to a gentle boil.
    butter and sate | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the drained pasta to the pan and cook on high heat, tossing gently, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce reduces and becomes thick and glossy, about 3 minutes. Add pasta water if the pan becomes too dry.
    vietnamese spicy noodles | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Remove from the heat and add the cheese, tossing until melted and glossy. Serve immediately, drizzled with extra sate and finished with fresh herbs.
    spicy noodles with cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com


Estimated nutrition assumes homemade satế

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Vietnamese Garlic Chili Lemongrass Butter Noodles
Amount Per Serving
Calories 573 Calories from Fat 230
% Daily Value*
Fat 25.5g39%
Saturated Fat 11.5g72%
Cholesterol 128mg43%
Sodium 574mg25%
Potassium 238mg7%
Carbohydrates 66.9g22%
Fiber 0.1g0%
Sugar 3.4g4%
Protein 20.1g40%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

More noodles


  1. Ira says:

    5 stars
    Wow! Looks scrumptious.. now I need to get my hands (or taste buds!) on those noodles. Just wanna know if cheddar cheese can be used? Will it alter the authenticity of the dish?

    1. Stephanie says:

      this is a completely made up dish so the cheese part is not authentic at all! you can skip out on the cheese :)

  2. Madeline says:

    5 stars
    Just made this and it turned out great! Added this to some leftover Asian noodles and added veggies and sesame oil. It turned out fantastic! Thanks you!

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