Satays are popular throughout Malaysia and the 13,000-odd islands that comprise the country of Indonesia, where they are eaten as a snack, an appetizer, or part of the meal itself. They can be made of beef, chicken, pork or lamb, depending on local custom and individual tastes. They never contain vegetables, and are served with a spicy sauce, such as sambal kacang , on the side for dipping.
- 1½ pounds sirloin beef, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 12 bamboo skewers
- Vegetable oil, preferably peanut
- Sambal kacang, store-bought or homemade
- 4 green onions, chopped, including some of the greens
- 4 to 5 Thai chiles, stems removed; or substitute serrano chiles
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, preferably fresh
- 2 tablespoons tamarind juice
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ cup coconut milk
To make the marinade, place the onion, chiles, ginger, and garlic in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, adding some peanut oil, if necessary, to form a paste.
Heat a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, add the oil and when hot, add the spice paste and sauté the mixture for a couple of minutes. Add the remaining marinade ingredients and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, about 15 minutes. If the marinade becomes too thick, thin with hot water. Allow the mixture to cool.
Place the beef cubes in a nonreactive bowl or heavy plastic resealable bag, add the marinade, and toss to coat. Marinate the beef overnight in the refrigerator, turning occasionally. Soak the skewers in water 15 minutes before using. Remove the beef and thread on skewers.
Preheat a gas gill to high; if you are using charcoal, the coals should be glowing. Grill the satays until done, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Brush them constantly with the oil and turn frequently to prevent burning. Cut one cube to check for doneness; they should be slightly charred on the outside and just done on the inside.
To serve, place the satays on a platter, with Sambal Kacang on the side for dipping.