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Poh's Chicken or Beef Satay with Homemade Peanut Sauce

Poh's Chicken or Beef Satay with Homemade Peanut Sauce


Homemade Peanut Sauce:

1-2 Tbs tamarind paste from a jar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt + more to balance at very end
1L water
2 Tbs lime juice + more to balance at very end
500g salted, roasted, crushed peanuts

Rempah (wet spice paste):

20 dried, long red chillies*, deseeded*, soaked in boiling water until soft, drained and chopped
2 cm (thickest part) galangal, peeled, thinly sliced, chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced (use pale part only and remove any dry outer layers)
8 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced
15 small red eschallots or 3 medium Spanish onions, peeled and sliced
200 ml vegetable oil

* Dried chillies – There are several types of dried chillies. For this recipe choose the type that are about finger sized. The smaller ones are very hot and the broader, larger ones mild. Also please never replace dried chillies with fresh ones as they don't impart the smokiness of flavour and depth of colour required for this dish.

* Deseeding chillies – Before soaking, snip chillies into quarter segments with scissors into a colander with largish holes and then shake the seeds out.

Chicken or Beef Satays:

Skewers, soaked for an hour
2 kg chicken thigh fillets, cleaned of sinew and fat OR 2 kg chuck steak


2 cm (thickest part) galangal, peeled, thinly sliced, chopped
8 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
2 tbs ground turmeric
4 clove garlic, peeled, sliced
10 small red eschallots or 2 medium Spanish onions, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dark soy
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs ground coriander
2 Tbs ground cumin

Accompaniments (also to be dipped into the peanut sauce):

2 cups jasmine rice, washed and drained
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 fresh pineapple, skin and core removed, cut into 1cm thick triangles
2 Spanish onions, peeled, diced into large 2 cm cubes and layers separated
2 continental cucumbers, quartered lengthways and then sliced into 2 cm pieces


To make peanut sauce, blend rempah ingredients until you achieve a fine paste. Set aside.

Pour rempah into a heavy bottom saucepan or wok and bring to a medium heat. Stir continuously to make sure the bottom isn’t catching and cook until there is very little steam rising from the sauce. At this stage, the oil will have split from the spice paste, caramelising into a lovely dark red and developing a beautiful fragrance.

Add water and bring to boil. Add tamarind, lime, sugar and only 1 tsp of salt and half the crushed peanuts. Bring to boil again, remove from heat and set aside until required.

Add the remaining nuts and give sauce a stir just before for a nice bit of crunch. At the very end, TASTE. If you feel something is lacking, the sauce just needs some balancing with more seasoning or a squeeze of lime juice. Set aside.

Cutting the meat for a satay is very difficult to describe because it’s not a straight slice or dice. What you want to achieve is something like an elongated triangle that is cut against the grain, no more than 2 cm wide at its widest, 1 cm thick and 3-4 cm long, irregular in shape but similar in size.

Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate in a large mixing bowl.

To start the marinade, blend all marinade ingredients to a fine paste.

Tip all the meat and marinade into a snaplock bag. Massage meat through bag, ensuring to coat every piece of meat with the marinade, push all the air out and seal.

Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight.

Following the length of each piece of meat, pierce evenly through the centre making sure each piece is sitting flatly. Thread about 3-4 pieces onto each skewer. The end appearance of each skewer will be a thin thread of meat which basically has 2 flat sides, making the satay easy to turn and cook.

Grill over coals or on a bbq until meat is slightly charred and cooked through.

To make pressed rice, combine rice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to boil.

Boil for 10 minutes then cover and simmer on medium heat for another 10 minutes. Turn heat off and allow rice to rest for another 15 minutes.

Spread rice evenly into a foil-lined, 20 x 20 cm square baking tin, cover with foil and then press with an oven mitt over your hand, to compress the rice evenly. Allow to cool completely to room temperature before cutting into 2 cm cubes.

To serve, divide peanut sauce into individual bowls and place satays, pineapple, onion, cucumber and cubed rice at the centre of the table to share.

Serves 8-10

Recipe promoted by Poh Ling Yeow for Malaysia Kitchen Australia

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