Balinese Peanut Sauce Recipe

I’m going out on a limb here, but I think that most people (who have tried them and are not allergic) like peanut sauce. If you don’t, try this recipe and I think you will change your mind. If you do, try this recipe and you will never make any other peanut sauce again.

I had to travel many thousands of miles and find the best cooking school in Bali to discover this recipe, but I won’t make it so hard for all of you. For a period of several years, I was unable to find my notes from that cooking class and suffered from inferior peanut versions of Balinese peanut sauce every time I tried to fulfill my craving. I don’t even remember how I found it again, but I am glad I did. As soon as I made it, I realized that I hadn’t been wrong to pine for it all this time.

Over the years, I have made some adjustments to the original recipe to account for hard to find ingredients and taste buds that aren’t accustomed to Balinese flavors, so if you are interested in the original recipe, please feel free to email me.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-6 people on noodles or vegetables (gado-gado)


  • 1 cup peanuts (salted, roasted)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 piece of ginger
  • kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 thai chillies or finger chillies
  • small tomato
  • 1 shallot
  • fish sauce or anchovies (optional)
  • lime
  • soy sauce
  • palm sugar (or cane sugar)


  1. Roughly chop the garlic, ginger, chillies, shallot and tomato. If you have whole lime leaves, chop three of those as well.
  2. In a magic bullet, food processor, or blender grind the peanuts with a quarter cup of water. If they are not blending well, add a little more water. If you don’t have any of these appliances, you can grind the sauce by hand in a mortar and pestle – a large flat one is best.
  3. Remove the peanuts and blend the chopped ingredients into a paste.
  4. Combine the ground peanuts with the spice paste in your blending implement of choice. Add 1 teaspoon kaffir lime leaves (if you are use the kind that come in a jar instead of fresh), 1 tablespoon each of soy sauce and sugar and the juice of one lime.
  5. If you have fish sauce, add a dash of that or two mashed anchovies.
  6. Blend everything thoroughly to combine and add more water if you desire a thinner consistency.