• You can eat gado-gado on its own, but it's also a great side dish. The peanut sauce will last for up to 5 days, but once tossed, it's best eaten the same day. (Louise Hagger)Source: Louise Hagger

The biggest difference between peanut sauces is that some are made with peanut butter and others are made from scratch with raw peanuts, fried in oil.






Skill level

Average: 4.6 (7 votes)

I have asked many Indonesians why so many of their recipes use peanut butter if the authentic way is better. "For Westerners!" they all answered. My Australian mother loves to make a quick peanut butter satay sauce, so I do feel an affinity for the Western way, but it really is worth the extra effort to deep-fry the peanuts, as this sauce has a nuttier flavour and darker colour. 



  • 75 g unsalted, raw peanuts, preferably with their skin on (or 75g unsweetened, unsalted smooth peanut butter)
  • 2 long red chillies, deseeded and very finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 4 tsp kecap manis, or more to taste
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste (or 2 tsp lime juice mixed with 2 tsp brown sugar)
  • Large pinch of sea salt
  • Sunflower oil, for frying

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. If using raw peanuts, heat 150ml oil to 160°C in a deep saucepan over a high heat. If you do not have a kitchen thermometer, check the oil is at temperature by adding a cube of bread; it should turn golden in 25–30 seconds.
  2. Carefully lower the peanuts into the hot oil using a slotted spoon. Stirring continuously, as peanuts can easily burn, fry for 4–5 minutes until golden. Remove the peanuts from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a tray lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the chillies and garlic and fry until softened, about 4 minutes.
  4. Place the fried peanuts or peanut butter in a small food processor with the cooked garlic and chillies, kecap manis, tamarind paste and salt.
  5. Pulse briefly, then add a splash of water to loosen the sauce and pulse again.
  6. Gradually add water (about 4 tablespoons) and continue to pulse until the sauce is a pourable consistency.
  7. Season with salt or more kecap manis as needed.


  • Peanut sauce is great drizzled over salads, on burgers or any grilled meat, or served with satay skewers or vegetables. It will last for up to 4 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Recipe extracted from Coconut & Sambal: Recipes from My Indonesian Kitchen (Bloomsbury Publishing).