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Daring Cooks' challenge January: Thai pork satay with peanut sauce

>> Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Daring Cooks proposal for this month was a typical Thai dish, though widely known in other Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. A satay consists of broiled skewered meat (almost any type), previously marinated in a mixture of onion, garlic and spices. The cooked meat is dipped in a peanut sauce. The meat gets its striking yellow color from the turmeric in the marinade. I had tried this dish an obscene amount of years ago, while living in The Netherlands, where it's a very popular fast food due to the large Indonesian community. I remember at the time I found the sauce the most disgusting thing I had ever tried... something warm with peanut flavor... yikes! Again the Daring Cooks were challenging me with something I'd never even think of cooking if left to my own devices. Nevertheless I've completely changed my mind about it this second time... has time taught me something?

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

You could choose any type of meat or tofu, I chose a pound of pork simply because I had some pieces in the freezer. I stuck strictly to Cuppy's directions and didn't add or eliminate any ingredient.

Pork satay with peanut sauce

  • 1 pound pork, sliced or diced
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 T ginger root, chopped (optional) (2 cm cubed)
  • 2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
  • 1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (5 mls)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (5 mls)
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric (2-2.5 mls)
  • 2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (30 mls)
Peanut sauce:
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (6 oz or 180 mls)
  • 4 Tbsp peanut butter (2 oz or 60 mls)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls) (my peanut sauce had sugar in it, so I didn't add any and I didn't miss it)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin (2.5 mls)
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander (2.5 mls)
  • 1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)
First marinate the meat. Cut the meat in pieces. I used pork sirloin and cut it in thick strips. Put all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and process until you get a yellow paste. Put the meat with the marinade in a freezer plastic bag and toss to coat evenly. The minimum time for marinating was 4 hours, but I preferred to leave it in the fridge overnight. By the way, all those who don't like the flavor of coriander or cumin seeds should refrain from trying this recipe. I love them though.

The sauce can be prepared in advance or on the spot, it's very easy and quick. But I must warn you that it's somewhat delicate, as it can separate like mayonnaise if overheated. Yes, it did happen to me. Therefore I recommend you to do it just before serving the satay, then you avoid the risk in reheating it.

Grind the spices in a clean coffee-grinder if you don't have them ground, like myself. Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat very gently for the peanut butter to melt. Watch it carefully to prevent it from boiling. The moment the mixture is more or less homogeneous, turn off the heat and stir. We ate our separated sauce all the same... ahem.

Before making the sauce then, turn the grill on. It must be nice to cook this in a barbecue in the summer, but we had snow. Slide the meat onto the skewers. First soak the skewers in water for 20 minutes if you're using the wooden ones. Lay the skewers under the grill, around 10 minutes on each side, until the edges start to brown. Don't overcook the meat or it will be dry. When done, transfer to a beautiful serving plate and eat immediately, dipped in the peanut sauce. Everybody, including our guests for lunch, loved the satay. I must admit though that the sauce is a bit shocking at first... in Spain we're only used to eat peanuts as one of the most famous tapas of all: panchitos, peanuts fried in oil and salted, extremely popular in all kinds of tabernas. But on the whole the result was very positive, even though I had to buy an imported peanut butter, laden with hydrogenated vegetable fats (peanut butter is not very popular in Spain).... all for the sake of blogging.

18 comentarios:

Mardi Michels January 14, 2010 at 3:59 AM  

We were disappointed with this recipe - I guess coming from Australia and living in Toronto and also having traveled extensively through Asia we have been spoiled by eating the real thing. We found the flavours a bit cloying and strong. Still it was a great reminder as to what marinading can do for tough cuts of meat... Yours look lovely and glad you enjoyed them...

Jo January 14, 2010 at 5:43 AM  

Great job on your satay. It looks really delicious and great pictures too.

Wic January 14, 2010 at 9:43 AM  

lovely job, it looks delicious. I used a double broiler for the sauce because I knew peanut butter likes to separate when heated.

Lauren @CoffeeMuffins January 14, 2010 at 9:56 AM  

I guess trying to make something you would have never normally attempted is why we decided to take part in Daring Cooks in the first place.

You have some beautiful photos!

Audax January 14, 2010 at 12:49 PM  

Good to hear that you liked it!!! Especially after your bad experience many years ago. Fabulous photos. I thought that the recipes were a great introduction to Thai styled food. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

Pam January 14, 2010 at 4:11 PM  

What a beautiful job you did....yum!!


Tasty Eats At Home January 14, 2010 at 5:56 PM  

Great photos. Isn't it interesting how our tastes evolve over the years? Of course, I tried serving the peanut butter sauce to my husband, even though I knew he didn't like that kind of stuff. And nope, no change there. I happily ate it though! Sorry there isn't an abundance of peanut butter in Spain! I would be so sad, I am a peanut butter fan!

Anonymous January 14, 2010 at 7:04 PM  

Your satay looks great, gorgeous photo!

Angelica January 14, 2010 at 7:38 PM  

Yay, glad you gave the peanut sauce another try. So much better than the street food, eh? great job on the challenge!

cuppy January 14, 2010 at 8:52 PM  

Sorry to hear you had to go out of your way for an ingredient; my hope was that this would be an ingredient-easy recipe. I think you could have instead just used crushed peanuts!

I think it looks wonderful, and I'd still eat that peanut sauce, too. :)

I'm very glad you tried it, even with your previous experience with satay. That's definitely daring! :) Thank you!

kathyvegas January 14, 2010 at 9:58 PM  

The peanut sauce looks luscious!

Sarah January 14, 2010 at 11:58 PM  

Looks great. I had fun with this challenge. Used my own recipes and they turned out well.

Simones Kitchen January 15, 2010 at 12:15 AM  

O that is so funny... I guess that we do eat a lot of satay here in Holland and I am so used to warm peanut sauce that it is like "second nature" to me, never thought about the fact that it might not be so common anywhere else. Still great job done while not having access to all sorts of peanut butter (as we do!) Looks great!

tasteofbeirut January 15, 2010 at 1:40 AM  

Love the photos of the satay! very appetizing!
I love eating this dish but making it always seemed like too much trouble!

Erica January 15, 2010 at 3:19 PM  

I want to join the daring cooks..... Do you have to do anything special?

Miriam, Ese cerdo se ve delicioso, cada que trato de hacer salsa de mani no me da buen resultado.

penny aka jeroxie January 15, 2010 at 10:25 PM  

Good job on the satay. I like mine with a big chilli kick so I made my own sauce :)

Diana Bauman January 18, 2010 at 5:02 AM  

Miriam, so great you were able to make this even though you had to buy some imported pb. Great link by the way! Besitos!

Miriam January 18, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

Mardi: you're right, I really had no recent reference about this dish.
Jo: thanks!
Wic: mmm, I wish I had known before hand!
Lauren: sure! thanks!
Audax: thanks!
Pam:thank you!!
Tasty: yes, it's strange how our taste changes...
5 Star Foodie: thanks!
Anjelikuh: I'm really glad I discovered another dish to make often!
Cuppy: don't worry, it wasn't difficult to find! Only it's not very common. Besides it's nearly impossible to come up with a dish whose ingredients are equally easy to find everywhere. I enjoyed your challenge very much.
Kathy: thanks!
AOFP: thank you!
Simone: thanks!
Tasteofbeirut: it's not so complicated after all, don't you think?
Erica: nothing special! Just go to their page and enroll. Tienes que probar otra vez con la salsa de maní!
Penny: thank you!
Diana: besos!


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