• Peanut sauce is great drizzled over salads, on burgers or any grilled meat, or served with satay skewers or vegetables. (Danielle Abou Karam)Source: Danielle Abou Karam

A classic Indonesian peanut sauce with coconut cream, served here with chopped red onion and cucumber for dipping.






Skill level

Average: 4.2 (10 votes)


  • 3 red Asian shallots, peeled and halved
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, outer layers removed
  • 1½-cm piece galangal root, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) peanut oil, plus extra, for drizzling
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 160 g (1 cup) dry roasted peanuts, unsalted, skin discarded and coarsely ground
  • 1 heaped tbsp tamarind pulp soaked in 1¼ tbsp warm water, strained
  • 125 ml (½ cup) coconut cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2½ tbsp grated coconut sugar or palm sugar
  • sliced cucumber and red onion, to serve


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.


Serves 4 as a side dish.

  1. Place the shallots, lemongrass, galangal and garlic in a food processor or blender and process until a paste forms, adding a little oil if necessary, to keep the blade turning.
  2. Heat the peanut oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot mixture and stir over medium heat until softened and reduced by half in volume but not coloured. Add the spices and stir for 1 minute or until fragrant, then add a splash of water to loosen the mixture.
  3. Stir in the ground peanuts, tamarind juice and 60 ml (¼ cup) water. Add the coconut cream and season with salt and sugar. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring continuously for another 5-10 minutes or until the satay sauce has thickened to the desired consistency and the oil has separated. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.  
  4. Serve the satay sauce with sliced cucumber and red onion for dipping.  



Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.