Category Archives: Sauces

the hunt for java sauce


my husband waxes poetic about the java sauce served at the aristocrat restaurant — self-proclaimed “The Philippines’ Most Popular Restaurant.” i’ve never been to aristocrat or much less stepped foot on the island of the philippines — although i’m scheduled to do so in a few months time.  i am looking forward to eating many many fresh mangos, and of course, coming face to face with all the people, places and things that hubby has been telling me about for the past few years.

based on my husband’s accounts, aristocrat is famous for its barbecue chicken — a chicken that is marinated in garlic, calamansi juice and soy sauce, served alongside java rice and dipped in java sauce.  it’s the sauce that forms the wellspring of hubby’s nostalgia for the land where he grew up.  i haven’t figured out yet where the name comes from — possibly it’s named after a similar condiment from the island of java in indonesia.  it tastes like a cross between peanut satay and hoisin.  in fact, i wouldn’t be surprised if someone had mixed those two sauces together while bored in the kitchen one day, and ended up with something that was kind of catching to the tongue.

mama sita (aka. the pinoy equivalent of condiment giants such as heinz or knorr or lee kum kee or kikoman) makes a java sauce that is available to overseas buyers but which has proven to be virtually impossible to trackdown in NYC.  i did find a place online based in LA that sells the stuff, and sometimes we can wrangle our west coast relatives to mail us some.

an acquaintance passed along a recipe for the sauce. i decided to make my own java sauce instead of being dependent on mama sita’s distribution capabilities.  that said, i’m not quite sure i’ve gotten it right yet.  i made one version that i thought was too salty and then added in more water and cornstarch to make it less salty. when hubby tasted it, he thought that it wasn’t salty enough.  so i guess if i stuck to the original recipe (as below) i would be closer.  i’ll post a picture and update to the recipe after the second trial.

Homemade Java Sauce Version 1.0
(revisions forthcoming . . . )

Roasted Peanuts 1 cup
Water 3/4 cup
Soy Sauce ¼ cup (i used kikoman but in retrospect i think if i used a pinoy brand or maybe ABC’s kecap manis, the taste would be closer)
Sugar ¼ cup
  1. Grind peanuts in a food processor until it is as smooth as possible.
  2. Combine peanuts, 3/4 cup water, soy sauce and sugar in a small sauce pan. Mix till well combined.
  3. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer until the sauce reaches the viscosity of ketchup or hoisin sauce.

Note: the hubby likes to use the sauce to accompany bbq chicken, ribs and just about anything i make that he deems too bland.  i think he’d really prefer to drink the sauce like soup, if i left him to his own devices.

Note 2: mama sita’s website also mentions that the sauce contains fine wheat flour. i wonder if that’s the thickener used to give the sauce more bite.