Thursday, January 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Pork Satay (January 2010)

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.

Cuppy reminds us that, "satay (or sate) is very often served as “street fare” all over the world, and you dip your cool little meat skewer into any variety of dipping sauces. In the US, I’m proud to say, we created the coolest and tastiest satay on the planet – the all-American corn dog. Hooray for the USA!"

Personally I have enjoyed satay in the past, if for no other reason than it normally comes with peanut sauce....and I love peanut sauces! The main focus of this challenge was to properly marinate the meat.

So, you start by making the marinade. I, of course, had a food processor so I used the cheater method. Once all the ingredients were in the bowl....whirl!!! was done.

The next step was to cut the meat. I decided to use pork since that was the traditional meat used for Satay, and I don't mind eating it. I hardly ever remember to use pork in my everyday cooking, so it was a nice change of pace. The hardest part about prepping the meat was (besides my aversion to touching raw meat) figuring out how to cut it so that I could thread it onto skewers and get the presentation. Once I figured it out though, it was easy. Just remember to continually wash those hands and use a separate cutting board for your meats! No cross-contamination here!

Pour in the marinade, squeeze out the air and pop into the refrigerator. I always put my marinating meats onto a paper towel and plate, just in case the bag it is in leaks...nothing worse than meat marinade all over the bottom of the refrigerator!

The next day, I got busy making the peanut sauce, pepper dip and cooking the satay. Both the peanut sauce and pepper dip were easy to make. I would have preferred a bit more heat, but I don't think I used the right kind of peppers in mine (as they were too hard to find!). Next time I will play with it a bit and add either some crushed red pepper flakes or that super spicy schiracha sauce they use in Vietnamese restaurants (I also used it in the Chicken Pho recipe). I used chunky peanut butter...I like the texture of a peanut in the sauce.

The pork was threaded onto skewers. Though this is an optional step, I say go for it if you're going to serve to anyone other than yourself. It makes for a great presenation and is quite traditional. These would make for a great appetizer at a party.

As I've mentioned, the county I live in does not all condo owners to have grills. SO, I use my George Foreman grill for my grilling. It works...I actually love that I don't have to worry about flipping the meat and it cuts the cooking time in half because you're cooking both sides at one time. Of course, the downside is that you don't get that true grill flavor....oh well...maybe someday I'll have it all. :-)

The satay turned out great! The yellow color from the turmeric was fun and the sauces were really good. I made some white rice to serve with them, just to make it more of a meal. I loved the peanut sauce (not sure I've met one I didn't like though), and the pepper dip was really good as well. Here are their glamour shots:

Thanks to Cuppy for a great recipe and a launching point for marinating!

The Recipe:
Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce

Satay Marinade
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)
1 pound of pork (loin or shoulder cuts) (16 oz or 450g)

Feeling the need to make it more Thai? Try adding a dragon chili, an extra tablespoon of ginger root, and 1 tablespoon (0.5 oz or 15 mls) of fish sauce. (I keep some premature (still green) dragon chili peppers in the freezer for just such an occasion.)

1a. Cheater alert: If you have a food processor or blender, dump in everything except the pork and blend until smooth. Lacking a food processor, I prefer to chop my onions, garlic and ginger really fine then mix it all together in a medium to large bowl.

2a. Cut pork into 1 inch strips.

3a. Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.

Chill Chart
Pork               Beef/Lamb     Chicken          Vegetables        Tofu (no oil)
4-8 hrs           6-8 hrs           1-4 hours        20 min – 2 hrs   20 min – 4 hrs
Up to 24 hrs   Up to 24 hrs   Up to 12 hrs   Up to 4 hrs        Up to 12 hrs

Faster (cheaper!) marinade:
2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (1 oz or 30 mls)
2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp ginger powder (5 mls)
1 tsp garlic powder (5 mls)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (5 mls)

1b. Mix well.

2b. Cut pork into 1 inch thick strips (2-2.5 cm thick), any length.

3b. Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.

Cooking Directions (continued):
4. If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak your skewers in warm water for at least 20 minutes before preparing skewers.

5. Gently and slowly slide meat strips onto skewers. Discard leftover marinade.*

6. Broil or grill at 290°C/550° F (or pan fry on medium-high) for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another 8-10 minutes.

* If you’re grilling or broiling, you could definitely brush once with extra marinade when you flip the skewers.

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)
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)

1. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.

2. Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.

3. All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.

Pepper Dip (optional)
4 Tbsp soy sauce (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls)
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)
1 finely chopped green onion (scallion)
Mix well. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Tamarind Dip (optional)
4 Tbsp tamarind paste (helpful link below) (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 finely chopped green onion (scallion)
1 tsp brown or white sugar, or to taste (about 5 mls)
Mix well. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Enjoy with Love,


  1. Oh, but not burning your skewers must be a nice pro to using a GF grill! ;)

    A lot of people put sriracha chili sauce in their peanut sauce; you should definitely use that instead of dried chilis if you have it - the flavor is SO much stronger and yummier.

    Everything looks great! I love those plates you have; they'd get so scratched in my house.. hahah. ;)

  2. Those plates with the characters written on them are amazing and your satay is fabulous. Yes the recipes given are a great base to experiment them to suit your tastes.

    I think that the Foreman grill sounds very good and it seems that a lot of DCs used them and liked the result.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia,