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Thai Satay

Thai Satay Recipe, How To Make Satay  

The immense popularity gained by Thai satay is indeed very impressive. Thai restaurants across the globe serve thai satay with some meat options. Basically you can make Thai satay with either pork, chicken or beef. The Thai satay recipe is very similar irrespective of the meat that you choose. We keep saying Thai satay, but the origin of the term satay is Indonesian rather than Thai. The indonesians gave the name satay, to a way of cooking - they did not name the cooked meat or the delicious peanut sauce satay! If you do not know what satay looks like, the image below will help you. The meat is grilled or barbecued on a stick or 'skewer' - this method of cooking was named satay or satey by the Indonesians.

Going by the popularity of the name Thai satay, it is quite clear that the Thais did some brilliant marketing to spread the taste of this delicious Thai food dish all over the world. Thais and foreigners love this dish, it is available in roadside food stalls, and also served in expensive ceramic ware in plush restaurants. Two equally popular side dishes are served with Thai saty, one is the Thai peanut sauce and the other is the cucumber relish. We have provided information on both these side dishes below.

thai satay recipe, how to make satay
The above images shows the meat (pork) grilled on skewers (sticks). While making Thai satay with pork or beef or chicken, the basic satay recipe remains the same. The dish shown above the satay sticks, is the very famous satay peanut sauce.

Before we get to know the ingredients for making Thai satay, let us give you a broad idea of how satay is made. The meat used can be chicken, pork or beef. The above image shows Thai satay with pork, the recipe is very similar for other meat options. The meat used to make the satay needs to soak in a 'solution' called the marinade, some people prefer to call it the satay meat marinate. Keep in mind that when talking about eating or making Thai satay sticks, marinade and satay sauce are not the same thing. Satay marinate is used to soak the meat before it is cooled (grilled). On the other hand satay sauce or satay peanut sauce, is a side dish along with which the ready satay is eaten.

Ingredients To Make Thai Satay

500 grams (1 pound) lean pork.
1 teaspoon grated galangal. This could be fresh or frozen. If using dried galangal take 2 pieces. If you do not know what galangal is check here.
1/2 cup coconut cream. You will need the thicker portion (cream) of the coconut milk. You could get the coconut cream readymade or make your own. Get details here.
2 teaspoons roasted and ground coriander seeds.
1/2 teaspoon roasted and ground cumin seeds.
1 heaped teaspoon of finely chopped lemon grass. Could be fresh lemon grass or dried lemon grass powder. More information is available here.
1 teaspoon turmeric powder.
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper.
1 teaspoon salt (can reduce to 3/4 teaspoon).
2 teaspoons sugar, white refined sugar is fine.
About 100 sticks (skewers).
Aluminium foil (not absolutely necessary).

If you have read some other Thai satay recipes, you might wonder why we missed the yellow curry powder as an ingredient. The truth is that the above ingredients include whatever would go into making the yellow curry powder. Professional Thai cooks rely very little on readymade ingredients. We will encourage you to take your adventure with cooking Thai food a little further, forget using the ready yellow curry powder from the grocery store - read and follow this satay recipe and get the thrill of making, tasting and serving some fine authentic Thai satay.

Let us know start making our Thai satay, the first step is to prepare the meat. You can actually start this process even an hour before cooking the satay skewers, you will learn why that is so in just a moment. You will need to cut the meat into thin slices about 0.5cm thick would be sufficient. If you cut the meat too thin, you will find it tough to thread the meat on to the skewers (sticks). You also risk getting your satay burnt as it is being grilled (cooked). On the other hand cutting the meat slices too thick, will not allow the marinade to soak through completely, it could also increase the cooking time for your thai satay. The Thais like their satay to be about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide. Some foreign Thai cook books recommend 3 to 4 inches length for the satay meat, the Thais prefer smaller bites. You can follow these dimensions for satay being made with pork, beek or chicken.

In the next step to make your Thai meat satay, we will need to marinate (soak) the meat strips that you have just cut. To do this you will obviously need to prepare the marinate or marinade, a liquid that should not be confused with satay sauce. If you observed the coriander seeds and cumin seeds ingredients in the above table, we mentioned that they would be roasted and ground. If you have not already ground them do not worry, as we can just do that in this step. Take a clean mortar and put the cumin and coriander roasted seeds (or powder) into the mortar. Now add the lemon grass, galangal, sugar, ground pepper, salt and turmeric powder into the mortar. Now pound all these ingredients to a fine powder, leave the mixture in the mortar for the moment.

Add the sugar to the bowl that contains the coconut cream, briskly stir the contents to thoroughly mix or partially dissolve the sugar in the coconut cream. If the coconut cream is in a small bowl, you will need a fairly large bowl to accomodate the meat pieces that were sliced. Now put the meat into this bowl that has the coconut cream and sugar. Next, put the mixture from the mortar into this same bowl. You basically have all the ingredients used to make your Thai satay in this bowl now. Mix all the ingredients including the meat thoroughly and leave aside for 30 to 45 minutes. You need to wait for the marinade to soak through the meat pieces, this is an important step and is time consuming. Keep the time required for this to complete in mind, when deciding the start time to make your Thai satay meat sticks.

Before you move ahead to grill (broil) your satay meat over a charcoal grill - take a moment to read this. It is best if your Thai satay is eaten just as it is taken off the grill. For this to happen, you would want two or at least one very popular side dish to be eaten along with the satay. One of these is the thai satay peanut sauce, we have an image and recipe link mentioned below. The other is the cucumber relish which is fairly easy and quick to make. At this point, you might want to get one or both of these side dishes ready.

It is now time to grill your satay, you will need to thread one strip of meat on one skewer vertically. If the grill size has a limitation on the number of satay sticks that can be accomodated, complete one set at a time. When threading the satay meat a professional Thai cook, would not allow the tip of the skewer (which is normally pointed) to protrude from the front side of the meat. If this process is taking you some time, finish a set of skewers before placing them on the grill. Doing this will ensure that the entire batch will cook at about the same time, and will need to be turned around at about the same time too.

The skewered meat will need to be grilled on a medium fire charcoal grill. You will have to turn the meat on both sides, to ensure that it is well cooked. Expert cooks know when the meat is cooked when they observe the grill marks appearing on the surface of the meat. This might take a few tries to learn but, it is really not all that tough. As the meat is cooking on the grill, take some of the marinate in a small spoon and spread it on the meat. Serve the cooked satay sticks immediately with satay peanut sauce and cucumber relish. 

Satay Peanut Sauce, Recipe

The above image shows a piece of satay dipped in a bowl of delicious Thai satay peanut sauce. You can get the recipe for the satay sauce here.



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