Cilok – Tapioca Balls with Peanut Sauce Recipe

When I was a kid, I often bought street food snacks around my school. My mom often scolded me for that because she thought it was unhygienic. I agreed with her for that reason, but school street food is awesome!

Cilok with peanut sauce, kecap manis, and sambal

Some of my favorite snacks are es ting-ting (coconut sorbet), batagor (meat tofu fritters), pentol (tapioca meatballs), and something called cilok. Cilok is actually similar to pentol, but it just doesn’t contain any meat. Think of it as vegan meatballs hehehe…Sometimes it can also be fried, and you called it cireng. Both dumplings are originally from Bandung, West Java, but they are also popular in my hometown, Surabaya. Cilok is a true street food, so you won’t find it anywhere in a restaurant.

Cilok is often served with peanut sauce. Indonesian style peanut sauce is somehow popular in the NL as satesaus (satay sauce). But actually, satay sauce in Indonesia is a term exclusively used for satay. We have plethora kinds of peanut sauce. One can be slightly different than the others. In the NL, peanut sauce also tends to be on the sweeter side like sweetened peanut butter, while originally it is more savory. You can make a big batch and store it in the fridge for up to a week. It is easy to make, so next time stop buying the one in the store and start making your own sauce. It is also healthier without those additives and preservatives.

I used chicken bouillon powder for the seasoning. If you are vegan or vegetarian, feel free to substitute it with mushroom stock powder or other vegetarian seasoning.

Cooked cilok – you can skewer them with satay stick if you want, like what I did.
Saus kacang (peanut sauce)



Tapioca balls with peanut sauce
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Snack
Cuisine Indonesian
Servings 4 people


Cilok (tapioca balls)

  • 250 g tapioca flour
  • 200 g wheat flour
  • 2 stalks green onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 300 ml boiling water
  • water, for boiling

Saus kacang (peanut sauce)

  • 400 g peanuts, roasted in a bit of oil until golden brown
  • 100 g palm sugar (about 2 discs)
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 3 daun salam (Indonesian bay leaves - omit if not available)
  • 5 red chilies
  • 1 tbs tamarind paste, diluted in 5 tablespoons of hot water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 600 ml water


  • First make the cilok by sifting the flour in a bowl. Add green onion, garlic, chicken bouillon, and salt. Mix well and pour in hot water. Stir with a spoon. Leave the dough for 5 minutes to cool down a bit. When it is still warm, knead it until it doesn't stick to the bowl anymore.
  • Boil some water in a pot. Take a tiny piece of the dough and with your palm, roll it into a ball. The size is about as big as an eyeball (sorry, can’t find any other example!). Plunge it in the boiling water. When the ball is floating, it is cooked. You can then take it out into a bowl. Continue doing this until the dough is done. You may boil the balls in batches. I did it in 4 batches as my pot is not that big.
  • For the peanut sauce, blend all the ingredients except for the water together in a food processor. Pour it in a pot alongside with the water. Stir to combine and turn on the heat into low. Keep stirring until the sauce turns darker brown. Turn off the heat and serve it with the cilok. If you want, you can also add sambal and drizzle it with kecap manis.
Keyword cilok, cireng, dumpling, tapioca, tapioca balls, tapioca dumpling

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