Popular throughout Southeast Asia, satay is said to have originated in Indonesia, where it is the national dish. Also known as saté, this handy hand-held food is a popular street food and appetizer throughout Southeast Asia.
Satay is similar to other skewered-meat dishes from around the world, such as yakitori, shish kebab, shashlik, chuanr, and sosatie. What sets satay apart as distinctly Southeast Asian is that it is usually chunks of fish, poultry, or meat on bamboo skewers soaked in a sweet and spicy marinade featuring flavors of lime and garlic. And it’s typically served with a spicy peanut dipping sauce on the side.
Flexible & Fun
Satay is great for summertime grilling. It’s a fun twist on the typical kebob.
Plus, the recipe is generally very scalable. For this recipe, we have two versions available: one feeds 6 as an appetizer or 3 as a meal, the other serves 40 to 50. So if you’re planning a family get-together, graduation party, bridal shower, or birthday party, this recipe is sure to have you covered.
Plus, many satay recipes can be customized—use whatever type of meat you prefer or have on hand. This recipe, for instance, can use beef or chicken.
Complete the Meal
Serve your satays with fluffy basmati or jasmine rice. To offset the spiciness of the satays and sauces, sweeten up your rice with some banana or pineapple— or try both in a coconut-milk based pilaf.
Another way to offset the spiciness with sweetness is to serve satays alongside sweet potatoes. Wrap them in foil and roast them on the grill then serve with brown sugar and butter. Or parboil potatoes, slice or cube them, toss with butter and brown sugar, and use a grill-top wok to cook them.
A light summertime beer will complement this meal perfectly. Try an Asian brew such as Tsingtao (China), Singha (Thailand), or Kingfisher (India). Add a shot of ginger syrup (1 part ginger juice to 2 parts sugar) to any of these beers for a quick and tasty DIY ginger beer.
Recipe: Grilled Satays
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
4 teaspoons light soy sauce
Asian chili paste to taste (depends on type used, but the goal should be to reach a moderate level of heat)
Chile dipping sauce:
1 clove of garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried red-pepper flakes
Peanut dipping sauce:
1 teaspoon fresh ginger
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
- Prepare marinade: In a blender or food processor, chop fine or puree the ginger, scallions and garlic. Add all remaining marinade ingredients and blend until smooth. Yields about 1/3 cup.
- If using beef, bring beef to room temperature. Cut into 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch slices. If using chicken, cut refrigerated breasts or thighs diagonally into 1-inch strips.
- Place beef or chicken in marinade and refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours.
- Prepare one or both dipping sauces: For chile dipping sauce: In a blender or food processor, chop fine or puree the garlic. Combine all remaining chile dipping sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Yields about 1/3 cup. For peanut dipping sauce: In a blender or food processor, chop fine or puree ginger and scallions. Add all remaining peanut dipping sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Yields about 1/3 cup.
- Prepare charcoal or gas grill. Grill over high heat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes each side.
- Serve with one or both dipping sauces.
What’s your favorite way to serve satays? Do you prefer beef, chicken, or something else? Do you have a go-to recipe? Or a must-try restaurant?