Bumbu Kacang (Indonesian Peanut Sauce)

The archipelago’s classic satay condiment.

  • Serves

    makes 2 cups

  • Cook

    10 minutes


By Vanja Van Der Leeden

Updated on July 17, 2021

This rich peanut sauce from chef, cookbook author, and satay expert Vanja Van der Leeden ticks all the boxes. It’s creamy, nutty, spicy and aromatic. Traditionally made in a heavy mortar and pestle, Van der Leeden’s version can be made quickly and easily in a blender. Unable to eat peanuts? Try swapping them out for almonds or cashews.

This recipe is adapted from Van der Leeden’s cookbook INDOSTOK.


  • 1 tbsp. plus 1½ tsp. (2 oz.) tamarind pulp
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 small red chile, coarsely chopped
  • 4 small bird’s eye chiles, coarsely chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 7 oz. (1¼ cup) roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp. kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce), plus more
  • 2 tsp. palm sugar
  • 1 tsp. terasi (Indonesian shrimp paste)
  • 6 makrut lime leaves
  • Kosher salt


Step 1

To a small bowl, add the tamarind pulp and ¼ cup lukewarm water.

Step 2

Heat a large skillet over low heat and add the oil. When hot, add the chiles and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant and beginning to color, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Step 3

Set a fine mesh strainer over a blender, then pass the tamarind pulp and its water through it, discarding any solids that remain. Add the peanuts, kecap manis, palm sugar, terasi, and the lime leaves, then blend to a sauce of your desired consistency, adding additional water a tablespoon at a time as needed to loosen. Season to taste with salt and kecap manis. Transfer to a bowl and serve at room temperature with satay or other grilled meats or vegetables. Leftovers keep well in an airtight jar for up to 1 week.

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