Dan Moore

Indonesians call satay sauce sambal kacang which literally means peanut sauce. Although peanuts are relatively new, their popularity has skyrocketed and this peanut sauce recipe has become a standard inclusion in Indonesian cuisine, most frequently being paired with chicken satay. Roasted and chopped into dishes with wonderfully flavorful ingredients like tamarind, lemongrass, chilies and sweet soy, peanuts add a delicate balance to the strong ingredients without taking the spotlight away from them. The recipe below should yield 3 cups of peanut sauce and includes many of the traditional spices that can be found in Bali and throughout Indonesia.

When Dan was in Bali recently, his generous host took the time to teach him how to make peanut sauce with the freshest ingredients. Click play below to watch the video of Dan cooking the peanut sauce while he was in Bali.


  • 10 shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 dried chilies
  • 5 red chilies
  • 1/2 cm fresh ginger
  • 2 candlenut
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander (or 2 tbsp coriander seeds)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 30 g palm sugar (gula melaka / gula merah)
  • 1/2 tbsp tamarind pulp, dissolve in 2 tbsp hot water
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 salam leaves, bruised
  • 30 g galangal, bruised
  • 1 lemongrass
  • 1/4 fresh nutmeg
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cm cinnamon
  • 1/4 star anise (optional)
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 250 cc coconut milk
  • 100 g roasted peanuts, ground coarsely
  • 50 cc hot water (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)


  1. Pound shallots, garlic, dried and fresh chilies, ginger, candlenut and ground coriander in a mortar to coarse paste.
  2. Heat cooking oil in a non-stick pan. Stir-fry chili paste over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add palm sugar and tamarind juice. Cook for another minute.
  4. Add kaffir lime leaves, salam leaves, galangal and lemongrass stalks. Stir-fry quickly about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in coconut milk and lower heat. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, keep on stirring.
  6. Toss in the rest of the spices and cook briefly for a minute.
  7. Add the ground peanut. Stir well and remove from heat.
  8. Serve warm with satay or meat skewers and rice cake.

You have now successfully made your own peanut sauce. It’s perfect for serving with satay, meat skewers, slices of cucumber, bread, and much more.