October 10, 2010

Singapore Satay

As this is my debut entry for the blog, I thought I'd give the honour to a popular dish that's not only linked to my heritage but also one which is not difficult to love at first bite - Satay. 

I've been a satay aficionado since I was able to pronounce the word.  As a child, I remember telling my Dad it didn't really matter what presents I would get for my birthday as long as I would get to wolf down satay all day. And boy, did he honour my wish, year after year. I've never had better birthdays!

It's worth noting that satay is not merely umarinated skewered meat. There's a pretty interesting mix of spices that's responsible for its aroma and delectable taste.  And then there's the equally appetizing peanut sauce in which you dip the satay.  Other accompaniments are cucumber slices, diced red onions and ketupat or lontong (traditional Malay/Indonesian rice cake). 

Fasten your seat belt because the moment you take your first bite, you will be on your way to a blissful makan* journey.  Bon voyage!

*Makan is Malay for "eat".


(Makes 20+ sticks)
500 grams beef or any meat of your choice - slice the meat very thinly and into small pieces.
Bamboo skewers

Meat Marinade
2 lemongrass
1/2 inch ginger
1/2 inch galangal
1/2 cup cumin seeds
1/2 cup coriander seeds
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp tumeric powder
4 tbsp sweet soy sauce
4 garlic
4 onions
5 tbsp vegetable oil

Chopped lemongrass

Peanut Sauce
500 grams peanuts (fry with 2 tbs of oil, skin-on)
15 dried chillies (soak in warm water before use)
2 shallots or red onions, chopped
2 garlic, chopped
2 lemongrass, chopped on the bulb end
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups water
Salt to taste

Barbecue or grill the skewered meat


1.  Grind all ingredients for marinade until smooth.  Smear evenly on meat and marinade for 2 hours.  Skewer about 5cm of meat on the bamboo skewer.  Barbecue/grill skewered meat until cooked, occassionally brushing oil on it using the ends of 2-3 sticks of lemongrass.
2.  Coarsely grind all ingredients for peanut sauce except salt.  Cook in a saucepan over low fire, stirring occassionally.  Sprinkle salt to taste.  Turn off fire when sauce thickens.
3.  Serve cooked satay with peanut sauce, sliced cucumbers, diced onions and ketupat/lontong (optional).


- For greater aroma, sautee the coriander and cumin seeds without oil before blending.
- Soak the bamboo skewers in cold water for 20 mins before using. This will help to prevent the sticks from burning.
- Brush the cooked satay with honey just before removing it from fire. This gives the dish a delightful sweetness.

Fearlessly Simple & Home Cooked

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