Pindasambal or Spicy Peanut Sauce

Satay with peanut sauce

A friend of mine loves the spicy peanut sauce I brought back from Suriname and she was asking me where she could buy it. Knowing that she wouldn’t find the same sauce my family makes, I searched the web to find something that closely resembles our pindasambal (or sambal pitjil).  No dice!

Tons of recipes, only a few ready-made sauces and those were either Thai or Vietnamese, made with ginger and/or coconut milk, none of which are in my family’s version.

Then I found a recipe that came the closest to what we make. Only difference is that we use dried tamarind (paste) instead of lime leaves and juice, plus we use a tiny bit of shrimp paste.

Vegetables with peanut sauce
Pitjil with peanut sauce

It’s a bit of work, but I’m sure that there is nothing on the market that tastes better, unless you get it from an Indonesian shop. Let me know if you do, because it may be worth it to spend $4-6 for the sauce.

Here’s the recipe I found on on Merry’s Kitchen’s website for bumbu kacang (Indonesian) or spicy peanut sauce.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Indonesian Peanut Sauce

3 cups deep-fried peanuts
4 cloves garlic, peeled and bruised
12 bird’s eye chilies (or 1 seeded habanero), sliced
3 inches kencur (like galangal), peeled and chopped
3 kaffir lime leaves
½ cup sweet soy sauce
2 tsp. salt
6 cups water
1 Tbs. lime juice

Roasted peanuts

Grind or blend the first four ingredients until coarse or fine depending whether you like it coarse or fine.
Put all ingredients in a pan except the lime juice.
Simmer over very low heat for approximately 1 hour, stirring to prevent sticking.
Stir in lime juice just before use.

Note: Peanut sauce is used for variety of Indonesian main dishes, such as Mixed Vegetables with Peanut Sauce (Gado-Gado or Pitjil),  Chicken Satay (Sate Ayam) and grilled meat.

To learn more about its origin, visit the peanut sauce page on Wikipedia.