A favourite street snack across Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, satay skewers make the perfect addition to your summer barbecue repertoire. Follow our simple tips to whip up authentic satay skewers like a pro.
One of the things we love most about satay skewers is their versatility. Popular protein choices include beef, lamb, chicken and seafood, while vegetarians can indulge with tofu, paneer (a firm Indian cheese) and vegetables. For beef satay skewers, we prefer a juicy cut such as rump, trimmed of excess fat. Lean steaks or fillets work a treat for lamb satay skewers, and for chicken satay skewers, thigh beats breast in the flavour and texture department.
You may think satay sauce is just for dipping, but it serves a dual purpose as a marinade. Save time by buying a jar of good-quality satay sauce, such as Yeo’s Satay Sauce, then adding a few authentic extras, such as salt, sugar, lemon, cumin and turmeric. For best results, massage the marinade into the meat, then chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes, or longer for a deeper flavour infusion.
To ensure your bamboo skewers don’t catch fire on the grill, soak them in a dish of water for 30 minutes. When you thread the meat onto the skewers, leave about 5cm at the base so you’ve got something to hold onto.
In a perfect world, you’d cook your satay skewers over charcoal, as they do at the hawker stalls in Southeast Asia – you’ll see the stallholders furiously fanning the flames to increase or reduce the heat as needed. If you don’t have a charcoal barbecue, cook over a gas chargrill plate, rather than the flat hotplate, so you still get those lovely charred bits on your meat.
Classic accompaniments include cucumber, red onion and cubes of ketaput (sticky rice cubes cooked in pandan leaves). The key to nailing these ingredients is to chop the cucumber and onion into 2-3cm chunks, rather than slices, so you can stab them with your skewer. Eat a piece of meat, spear a piece of vegetable or rice, then swipe it through a bowl of extra satay sauce. Repeat until you’ve found yourself in satay heaven. For more Asian barbecue inspiration, try Japanese teppanyaki at home, or grill Thai-style chicken for your next get-together.
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