Spicy Peanut Sauce

Sos Kacang


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    3 cups

Appears in

Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore

Southeast Asian Flavors

By Robert Danhi

Published 2008

  • About

This is one of the first authentic Malaysian sauces I learned, It was back in the late 1980s and my then-Malaysian-food-guru, Mr. Lajis, had come to my mother-in-laws house to show me some of the secrets that made his six street food stands in Kuala Lumpur such booming successes. This sauce can be served after it’s simmered only an hour, but full flavor is achieved only after a slow cook of several hours. Add small splashes of water as it simmers to maintain a medium-thick consistency. The flavorful oil that the spice paste was fried in will eventually rise to the surface, resist your temptation to skim this off. The oil is very flavorful and is not discarded.


  • ½ cup (½ oz. / 14 g.) Dried red hot chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 tsp. Dried shrimp
  • ½ cup Vegetable oil
  • 2 medium Shallots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks Lemongrass, trimmed and sliced very thin, about 1/16 inch (.1 cm.)
  • 2 tsp. Finely grated galangal
  • 2 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
  • cups Peanuts, roasted in dry pan or deep-fried, ground finely
  • 3 cups Water
  • ¾ cup Granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt


  1. Cover chilies and shrimp with 1 cup room temperature water; soak 30 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Make a semi-smooth spice paste (rempah) by pureeing the oil, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, drained dried shrimp, and chilies in a blender.
  3. Heat a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add pureed rempah; cook on medium heat until mixture is fragrant and oil begins to separate out from it, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add water and peanuts; stir well. Bring back to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring often. Add sugar and salt. Continue to simmer until “raw” flavor has dissipated, up to 2 hours, adding water as needed to compensate for evaporation.