One of the most popular dish around the world – and I totally agree – is satay. Also known as Sate (Indonesian), Satai (Malay) and Saté (Dutch). A dish that never disappoints me. Satay has been recognized as the national food of Indonesia and many varieties exist throughout the country.
The smell of roasted meat above charcoal, always made my tummy rumble, when passing a street hawker in Indonesia. And it’s a pleasant sight to see people gather around the hawker, happily enjoying their meal or anxiously waiting to get their portion(s).
I have always been very careful with eating street food, especially in Indonesia as my stomach is very sensitive. So for a quick and simple lunch and wanting satay with some rice and veggies, I mostly ended up at specific restaurants. Also because I don’t like any fat or skin mixed with the meat. Some people say that the meat needs it to stay juicy, but I disagree because I have gathered enough recipes, that will result in having juicy meat bursting with flavors. I will share these in future posts, so check my blog regularly!
Satay is also very popular in the rest of South East Asia, like Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, The Philippines along a particular place in the world namely Surinam in South America, a former Dutch Colony with lots of Javanese people from Indonesia descendants live there.
It’s hard to say where satay originates from, as it was also inspired by the Arab and Middle Eastern traditions, when they visited Southeast Asia. The spice trade brought Arab traders to Southeast Asia, and their kebab seems like a similar dish. Javanese people made their own variation of the kebab, and that’s when it got famous.
Other variations on “meat on a skewer” are yakitori from Japan, shish kebab from Turkey, kebab from India, shaslick from the Caucasus and sosatie from South Africa. Non-meat options are available too, known for satay putih (white), made from tempeh and tofu.
No matter how simple it looks – 3 to 4 cubes of meat on a skewer – preparing the dish is not easy at all. A good satay needs meat in a proper shape. Not too small, not too big. A perfect marinade and a proper time to soak in all the spices. It will make all the differences. When I make my homemade satay, I always prepare the meat one evening before.
A nice portion of satay needs a rich flavorful sauce to go with. My homemade peanut sauce is just that. I start from scratch by grinding the peanuts to get a real nutty taste. After adding some soy sauce, red chili, garlic, coconut milk and other spices, my sauce is ready. Free from any nasty preservatives and additives. Recipes will be online soon. So stay tuned!