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Bakso Sapi Saus Padang - Indonesian Spicy Meatballs

Indonesian bakso sapi (beef meatballs) with an umami-rich spicy Padang sauce. These are so good with steamed rice, and they are amazing as appetizers too.

Spicy food lovers rejoice! Today I am sharing this wonderfully umami loaded bakso sapi saus Padang - Indonesian spicy meatballs with you. There are two parts of the recipe, making the meatballs, and the amazingly delicious saus Padang (spicy tomato and chili sauce). I get it that some don’t eat beef in their diets, like my Mom, so feel free to sub with ground chicken or ground pork for the meatballs. Regardless of your meat choice, I promise it will come out ah-may-zing!

Bakso Sapi Saus Padang - Indonesian Spicy Meatballs
Bakso Sapi Saus Padang - Indonesian Spicy Meatballs

Bakso Sapi (Beef Meatballs)

There is nothing exceptionally different in making Indonesian style meatballs (bakso) compared to its Western counterpart. The main different lies more in cooking process. There are two main ways in cooking the meatballs, either we boil them in plenty of water, or we deep fry them in super hot oil. We are going to go with the first method for this recipe.

Bakso Sapi Saus Padang - Indonesian Spicy Meatballs
Bakso Sapi Saus Padang - Indonesian Spicy Meatballs

Saus Padang (Umami Rich Tomato and Chili Sauce)

Padang cuisine is famous for its spicy and savory dishes and is one of the most beloved in the country. There is a saying that no matter where you are in Indonesia, there will be at least one Padang restaurant to satisfy your craving. But saus Padang, literally Padang sauce, has nothing to do with the distinguished cuisine. Instead, this sauce is basically a super spicy tomato sauce consists mainly of tomato ketchup, chili sauce, and oyster sauce, with aromatics such as onion, garlic, and ginger. I’m guessing it starts as some signature sauce in a restaurant that somehow gets adopted widely around the country.

Bakso Sapi Saus Padang - Indonesian Spicy Meatballs
Bakso Sapi Saus Padang - Indonesian Spicy Meatballs

Bakso Sapi Saus Padang - Indonesian Spicy Meatballs

5.0 from 5 reviews

Author: Anita Jacobson




Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Total Time: 45 mins

Serves: 4

Print Recipe


  • Bakso sapi (Beef meatballs)
  • 450 gram (1 lb.) ground beef
  • 100 gram tapioca starch
  • 100 gram ice cubes, crushed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Saus Padang (spicy tomato sauce)
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 100 gram onion, thinly sliced
  • 3-5 Thai red bird eye chilies (Indonesian: cabe rawit merah), seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 red fresno chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah besar), seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3-5 dried red chilies (Indonesian: cabe merah kering), seeded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, bruised
  • 200 ml beef stock (or water) (*)
  • 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon chili sauce (**)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • corn starch slurry (2 teaspoon corn starch + 4 teaspoon water, mix well)
  • 1-2 scallions, thinly sliced (for garnish, optional)


  • Bakso sapi (Beef meatballs)
    1. Mix all meatball ingredients together. Shape into meatballs, each about 1 tablespoon worth.
    2. Boil a pot of water in a pot (about 70% full). Once it boils, drop meatballs into boiling water. The meatballs are cooked once they float to the surface. If your pot is small, you may want to cook the meatballs in batches.
    3. Scoop out the cooked meatballs with a slotted spoon and set them aside.
  • Saus Padang (spicy tomato sauce)
    1. Heat oil in a skillet/frying pan over medium high heat. Sauté onion, all the chilies, garlic, and ginger until the onion looks translucent.
    2. Add beef stock, oyster sauce, tomato ketchup, chili sauce, salt, ground pepper, and sugar. Mix well and bring to a boil.
    3. Give a quick taste test, and add salt/sugar/pepper as needed. Then thicken the sauce by adding the corn starch slurry, continue stirring until the sauce is thick, about 2 minutes.
    4. Return the cooked meatballs into the skillet/frying pan. Gently toss to coat meatballs with sauce.
    5. Transfer to a serving plate, garnish with thinly sliced scallions, and serve immediately with steamed white rice.


  • (*) I usually use the water from boiling the meatballs for this.
  • (**) Best if you can use Indonesian chili sauce. Or, just use sriracha.
Indonesian Pantry
Indonesian Kitchen


  • Mark Austin Mark Austin says:

    Wow these look good and I'm seriously hungry now! Could you sub the beef for another meat such as lamb or pork?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Sure, you can use any kind of meat for this recipe :)

  • Jennifer Allen Jennifer Allen says:

    These look great! I love that the sauce looks so rich and fabulous - I bet it'd be great over rice! Yum!

  • Haley D. Williams Haley D. Williams says:

    This recipe is so easy to make and full of flavor. Yum!

  • Andrea Metlika Andrea Metlika says:

    Oh my, these sound and look like wonderful meatballs.. My friends are going to love these! I cannot wait to make these for them.

  • Krissy Allori Krissy Allori says:

    These meatballs are so good. My family loved them. Bursting with flavor.

  • Irina Irina says:

    OMG! Another meal to drool over... Cannot wait to try. I make one your recipe after another!

  • Mac Mac says:

    Why do you use 100 gram ice cubes in the meatballs? What does it do? Wouldn't it melt in the boiling process?

    • Anita Anita says:

      Hi Mac, like you said, the crushed ice will melt away during cooking process, and the meatballs will end up with tiny holes making them spongy. This is a desired trait in most Asian meatballs, since we prefer meatballs with a bouncy and springy texture.

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