Indonesian Peanut Satay Sauce

It was a humid day in Sydney today so I wanted to cook something tropical – Indonesia is a country not averse to a bit of humidity – and also a country not averse to maxing up the calories. This satay sauce is potentially not the healthiest of dishes as I discovered during the cooking process. The oil from not only from the frying, but also the peanuts seeps out and looks not all together appealing. However, a quick whizz in the food processor blended all that oil into the sauce, erasing it from my memory as it blended. Satay is a fabulous aromatic and flavour triumph, and one of my all time favourite things to eat and eat and eat.

150g roasted unsalted peanuts
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1 shallot (finely chopped)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 tablespoon Kerasi (or shrimp paste)
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 tablespoon kecap manis
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 lime (juice of)

Pound the peanuts into a paste in a pestle & mortar. Set aside. Heat the oil in a saucepan until just hot. Sizzle the garlic and shallots for 2 minutes until just browning. Add the kerasi and sugar and sizzle for 30 seconds then add the peanuts, kecap manis and chilli powder and stir well. Bring to a bubble then pour in 300ml water. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes to reduce until thick.

Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature then stir in the lime juice. Adjust seasoning to your taste.

Serve at room temperature alongside beef, pork or lamb satay sticks.

  • Litawyn

    I made this sauce today exactly as written, except I doubled it. I ordered all of the ingredient specifically to make this, including the palm sugar, the kecap manis and the shrimp paste. The shrimp paste just killed it. It tasted like a decent peanut sauce mixed with a hefty portion of what I would imagine toe jam would smell like on a homeless person.

    Would you be specific about the type of shrimp paste you used? I ordered a block of “Best Quality Blachen – Dried Shrimp Paste” from Malaysia. I’m guessing there are many kinds of Kerasi and I either went with one that was more potent than necessary or simply an inappropriate type. I’ve also got another type of shrimp paste from Malaysia called “Petis Udang.” Would that have been more appropriate?

    I’m a devout peanut sauce fan, but not when it tastes like dirty old toes.

    • leej

      The type of shrimp paste you used is the same as the one I use a lot. The Indonesian Kerasi I use is dried and I replenish it with water first – it too is INTENSE and stinks like dirty underpants – but this dish works every time using the amount stated. Shrimp pastes can vary wildly in intensity as I have learned from in the past so a tip I would give is to add it sparingly and build up to the quantity on the recipe tasting after every little addition until you’re happy.

      I employ the same trick with other strong ingredients like chilli, fish sauce etc. They can ruin a dish most definitely and take over if over added.

      Give the satay sauce another go… I’m sure it’ll be a success!

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