Thursday, March 7, 2013

Satay(peanut) sauce, indo-frangourou style

My parents lived and worked in Indonesia for several years, and two of is siblings were born there: me in Jakarta, while my younger sister Camille was born in Surabaya.  I was only there for a few months, as I became ill as a baby and had to be taken back to my grandmother in France, where I stayed till I was five, when we went to Australia. But it greatly impacted on my parents, who not only learned to speak and read Bahasa Indonesian but also immersed themselves in finding out more about the culture of Java, especially, and so, growing up, we always had a certain familiarity with Indonesian culture, including food--a familiarity which made my trip as an adult back to Java, in the 90's, feel like an odd and exciting combination of the exotic and the homely.
Maman often made--and still makes--Indonesian food, interpreted in her own way, and one of our great favourites were satays. Dad would make the satays themselves, marinating the meat and grill it on its sticks over a charcoal-fired barbecue, while Maman concocted the sauce and all the things that went with it--vegetables, rice, condiments. Maman's version of satay(peanut) sauce is the base from which I always create my own version. It's super easy and fast to make, tastes great, and always works. Plus you can vary it just as you wish, according to taste.
My satay sauce has the following ingredients: peanut butter(if possible fresh coarse-ground from a health food store, with nothing added); chopped tomatoes; crushed garlic; splash sweet Indonesian soya sauce, small splash ordinary soya sauce(prefer only a tiny amount), few drops fish sauce, crushed chilli or chilli sauce, teaspoon brown sugar, teaspoon rice vinegar. Sometimes I also add coriander, a little coconut powder(or a little coconut milk) and chopped onions. It varies. And proprtions are to taste(with the peanut butter dominating, of course!)
Anyway, what you do is put all ingredients together in a pan(it should be nice and thick) and stir quickly on the stove(over a moderate flame.). Only cook until all ingredients are well blended together, which takes only a minute or two. Remove from stove and serve either cold or warm, with satays or stir-fried chicken or other meat. And that's it!
The sauce here is pictured with some of the ingredients for the vegie stir-fry I made to go with the chicken--all from the garden.


  1. Alas, I don't generally keep Indonesian soy sauce in my pantry, or rice vinegar!:( Where to buy? And how is the Indonesian soy sauce different from regular?

  2. Hi, Sue, you can easily find both in Coles or Woolies, in their Asian food section--Indonesian soya sauce, or kecap manis, is sweet soya sauce, rather than salty, and thicker in texture than the usual kind.