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Peanut Sauce – Recipe for Satay Sauce


Sambal Satay

Satay Sauce

© Dennis K H Sim, licensed to About.com

The Satay Sauce is an all time favorite dipping sauce from Southeast Asia. It is savory, spicy and slightly sweet and goes extremely well with satays - grilled skewered meats - and the popular Indonesian salad called Gado Gado.

This particular satay sauce recipe is vegetarian, and when combined with the Gado Gado makes an excellent vegetarian meal.

Cook a bigger portion of satay sauce for later use. It keeps well in an air tight container for up to 2 months in the freezer.


  • ½ lb peanuts
  • 1 ½ Tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 6 Tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste
  • _________
  • Spice Paste
  • ---------------
  • 8 dried chilies, soak in warm water
  • 2 stalks chopped lemon grass, use only the bottom 3 inches
  • 2 tsp thinly sliced galangal
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder


Tamarind pulp

Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of water. Use only the juice, discard the pulp and seeds, if any.


Without using any oil, roast the peanuts in a frying pan or wok over low heat until they are brown and fragrant. Allow them to cool before removing as much of the peanut skins as possible.

Put the peanuts in a blender and whizz on a low setting until coarsely ground. Put aside.

Spice Paste

Remove the dried chilies from the water, cut the top off, remove the seeds and slice. Put all the ingredients for the spice paste into a blender and grind into a fine paste. If the ingredients are too dry and you have trouble grinding, add 1 Tbsp oil.

  1. Heat 6 Tbsp of oil on low heat in a pot. Saute the spice paste until it turns and golden brown and fragrant.
  2. Add the ground peanut and the tamarind juice. Cook on low heat while stirring frequently so that the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add some water if the satay sauce becomes too thick and hard to stir.
  3. Cook for about 45 minutes or until a reddish chili oil rises to the top of the pot. The satay sauce should have a rich, dark red color with a thick consistency.

Note: The amount of sugar specified in this recipe is only a guide. You can adjust it depending on your taste. The layer of oil can be removed after cooking without affecting the taste of the satay sauce.

An Extra Note: If you feel that the sauce is not spicy enough, increase the amount of dried chilies. If you are already midway through the cooking, a shortcut method is to soak the extra dried chilies in hot water. After 5 minutes, cut the tops off, remove the seeds and cut into tiny slices. Add them to the satay sauce in the pot and simmer for at least 15 minutes. Another shortcut is to use fresh chilies. The bird’s eye chilies will help to spice up your satay sauce quickly.

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