• Satay Marinade I or II (recipes follow)
  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder or loin, lamb, chicken breast or leg, or turkey
  • Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
Time Estimates

Prep time: 30 min  

Cook time: 25 min  

Total time: 55 min  


  1. Prepare your choice of marinade. Slice the meat across the grain, 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Toss the meat in the marinade and let it stand for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak them in water while the meat marinates to prevent burning.
  2. Remove the meat from the refrigerator at least half an hour before cooking. Thread the meat onto skewers in a wave pattern, then stretch it out so it makes as even a layer as possible. Grill over a hot fire until just done but still moist, about 5 minutes. Serve with Peanut Sauce.


Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer, 3 to 4 as an entrée

Good to know

Satay (sometimes spelled saté) is not a single dish but a whole genre of cooking popular all across Southeast Asia. Wherever people gather, in the marketplace, on street corners, or in special areas devoted to stalls selling cooked food, someone is likely to have a charcoal grill going, cooking small pieces of meat on skewers and serving them with a spicy peanut sauce.

Which beer should I drink with this?

Your favorite lager


1. I like to serve satay as an appetizer when grilling something else as an entrée; the quick-cooking skewers give hungry guests something to nibble on while the main dish cooks. But a larger quantity of satay, plus rice and a vegetable dish or two, makes a fine meal. Indoors, your choices include cooking the skewers under the broiler, on a stovetop grill, or at the table if you have an appropriate tabletop grill.


Satay Marinade I (with Tamarind)

Ingredients: for 1 pound of meat

  • 2 teaspoons coriander seed or ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried galangal flakes, 2 or 3 slices dried galangal, or 1 teaspoon ground galangal
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce/span>
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind water (see Note)
  1. If using whole coriander and galangal, grind them to a powder in a spice grinder. Mince the ginger and garlic together until very fine, or better still, pound them in a mortar to an almost liquid paste. (The quantity is too small to do this in a blender.) Combine the ginger-garlic paste with the ground spices, fish sauce, and tamarind water in a bowl large enough to hold the meat.

Note: To make tamarind water, either dissolve a 1/2-inch cube of tamarind pulp (sold in blocks) in warm water and strain, or use 1 teaspoon Indian-style tamarind concentrate (no straining needed).

Satay Marinade II (with Coconut Milk)

Ingredients: for 1 pound of meat

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 or 3 inches lemongrass top, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  1. Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let cool before adding the meat.

Note: "Coconut cream" means the cream skimmed from a can of coconut milk, not the stuff bartenders use to make piña coladas.

Peanut Sauce


  • 1/4 cup peanut or other vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 1/3 cup chopped ginger
  • 1/4 cup dried shrimp, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup tamarind water (see Note above) or citrus juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or 1/2 teaspoon bottled chile-garlic paste
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet (nonstick is handy) over moderate heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and dried shrimp and fry gently, adjusting the heat so the garlic and ginger sizzle but do not brown too quickly. When the garlic begins to color, after 8 to 10 minutes, add the coconut and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the tamarind water and cayenne, and stir in the peanut butter.
  2. Cook, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool enough to taste it. It should be pleasantly hot but balanced by the sweetness of the coconut and the tart flavor of the tamarind. Adjust the seasonings accordingly, adding a little sugar if necessary. Stir in the cilantro and serve warm or at room temperature as a dipping sauce for pork or chicken satay or other grilled meats or poultry.

Note: The dried shrimp is optional but gives a nice flavor to this sauce, much better than the smell of the raw ingredient. If you omit it, add a splash of fish sauce.

The Microbrew Lover’s Cookbook 

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From The Microbrew Lover’s Cookbook, Copyright © 2002 by Jay Harlow. Used by arrangement with Jay Harlow.

Photo: 34760/Getty Images Photodisc