Singapore Peanut Sauce

For Satay or Gado Gado
Galangal Mees Kemerie Meets Tamarind

Galangal, an important Southeast Asian spice


Peanut Sauces are popular in Southeast Asian cuisines.  So, we have a Thai Peanut Sauce, and Indonesian Peanut Sauce, both of which might go with foods like Satay and salads like Gado Gado.

Singapore Cuisine has its own version of Peanut Sauce.  This is good with Satay and also can be used as a dressing for a Gado Gado salad.

This sauce takes about 10 minutes to prepare and about 15 minutes to cook. It makes about a cup and a half

Special ingredients include Galangal, Tamarind and Kemerie or Candlenuts, as well as Lemongrass.  The Candlenuts are sometimes difficult to find; Almonds can be substituted.

Peanut Sauce



Tamarind Juice, Thailand origin

Tamarind Juice

2 ounces Tamarind Pulp (may substitute Lime juice in a pinch)
2 cups Water
3 Kemerie (Candlenuts) — or could substitute Macadamia nuts or Almonds
½ ounce Galangal or 1½ teaspoons powdered Galangal
15 small dried Red Chilies
1 stalk Lemongrass
3 cloves Garlic
1 teaspoon Shrimp Paste
1 Shallot or 2 tablespoons minced Onions
½ cup Vegetable Oil

1 cup toasted unsalted Peanuts
¼ cup Sugar
½ teaspoon Rice Vinegar or Malt Vinegar
¾ teaspoon Salt


First, mix the Tamarind Pulp with Water and strain it through a fine sieve.  You can also use the more refined Tamarind Juice from Thailand.

Prepare the Peanuts, by shelling them, and powdering them finely.   Originally this would be done in a mortar and pestle.  A blender or food processor works fine.

You want to do the other minor preparation — crush the Candlenuts or Macadamia Nuts coarsely, blanch and skin the Almonds if that is what you are using.,

Soak the Red Chilies in warm water and drain off the excess water.  This could be done while preparing the Peanuts.

The Garlic or Shallots need to be peeled and then minced.

The Lemongrass should be smashed lightly; the side of a heavy cleaver works well for this.

When all the preliminary preparation is ready, put the Candlenuts or whatever nuts are used, the Galangal, Chilies, Lemongrass, Garlic, Shrimp Paste and Shallots into a grinder or blender.  Process until very fine.

Then heat the Oil in a large hot saucepan or wok until the Oil is also hot.  Then add the Nut mixture, dry, stirring constantly, until it is fragrant.  Stir in the Peanuts, strained Tamarind liquid, the Sugar, Vinegar and Salt.

Boil these gently, uncovered for about 15 minutes, stirring well while cooking.

Cool the sauce and allow the spices to infuse their fragrance into the Peanuts.

The sauce is served at room temperature, with Satay or Gado Gado salad. Recipe adapted from Violet Ooon.

Singapore - Skyline