What is a Satay?
Satay (pronounced – SAH-tay) is a popular South East Asian starter dish. Many articles on satay mention Indonesia as being the origin of satay. But it has now become popular in other South-Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia and particularly Thailand. Thai cuisine being popular worldwide has led to considering this dish as originated from Thailand.
One or few main ingredients – be it vegetable chunks, tofu, meat, fish are seasoned and threaded onto satay sticks or bamboo skewers. They are then grilled or barbecued over a charcoal over wood fire. An authentic satay will have turmeric added to the marinade, giving it the characteristic yellow shade and will have a smoky flavor, the result of cooking over charcoal.
The difference between the satay recipes of these South East nations is mainly in the accompaniment served along with the barbecued ingredient and also in the way the vegetable/ meat is cut.
One popular accompaniment to the satay is the spicy peanut sauce served in Thailand. The sauce is generous in its spice level. Tang from the lemon and a hint of sweetness from palm sugar make this a lip smacking dip!
In Singapore satay is sold in food courts, by street vendors and in upscale restaurants. The popular one here is the Chicken satay.
Different parts of Malaysia have their own versions of this popular appetizer. One popular veraion is the Sate Kajangwhere a sweet peanut sauce and some fried chilli paste is served along side with barbecued meat. Another version is the sate lok-lok from Penang where the dip is a sweet dark sauce or a chilli sauce. Sate celup is a verion where the satay is cooked in boiling peanut sauce.
The country where this popular appetizer originated – Indonesia, serves satay with soy based dip. There are several versions of satay in this country. One popular one is the Sate Madura where meat is served with sweet soy sauce and eaten with rice or rice cakes wrapped with banana or coconut leaves. Such rice cakes are called ketupat. Few more accompaniments to other satay versions include – sambal (chilli paste), pineapple based satay sauce, sliced shallots or sliced fresh chillies.
Serve with Thai Peanut Sauce
Baby corn Satay
A Thai starter.
- Baby corn – 12 whole pieces
- Onion – 1 (medium)
- Red capsicum – 1 (medium)
- Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp (to pan fry vegetables)
- Satay sticks – 12+2 or as needed (soaked in water for 5 mins)
- Soya sauce – 1 tbsp
- Lemon juice – 1 tsp
- Ginger garlic paste – 1.5 tsp
- Brown sugar – 1 tsp
- Honey – ½ tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp/ to taste
- red chilli flakes (optional)
- Peanut/ satay sauce
- Prepare the vegetables – Wash baby corn, cube onion and red capsicum. Blanch baby corns in salted boiling water for 2 mins OR pressure cook for up to 2-3 whistles (open lid when pressure drops).
- In a bowl combine the above vegetables, marinade ingredients. Toss. Set aside to marinade for 15 to 20 mins. Pierce all baby corns into satay sticks (1 per stick). Thread the other remaining vegetables between 2 to 3 separate sticks
- Heat oil in a grill pan/ griddle. Place the sticks with vegetables onto the griddle. Pour any excess marinade on top of vegetables.
- Cook the vegetables, turning sticks in between to cook the vegetables evenly on all sides. Cook till baby corn is brown and caramelized , onion-capsicum a bit charred on the edges. Remove and set aside.
- Arrange the vegetable satay on sticks on a serving plate. Serve the sweet, spicy, tangy, nutty peanut sauced on the side. May sprinkle with red chilli flakes if desired. Serve hot!
Instead of above vegetables, you could make satay from tofu, button mushrooms, paneer (cottage cheese), green, yellow and red capsicum.
You could serve cubed cucumbers too but no need to marinade or grill them. Just thread cubed cucumber onto skewers and serve with the peanut sauce.
Instead of the above marinade, you could marinade the vegetable/tofu/mushroom/paneer with few tablespoons of the peanut sauce for 15 mins. Then grill as above. Serve hot with remaining peanut dip.