So I was presented with a question: what type of satay do you want to eat? My answer was: all of the three. I will have the basic chicken satay, the most flavorful one that is sweet pork satay, and let’s not forget tempe satay, a tried-and-true recipe that is simple to make with typical Indonesian spices–shallots, garlic, chili, candlenuts, and turmeric.
How do you make chicken satay? I go to the basic, it’s simply chicken pieces, preferably a mix between breast and thigh meats, cut into bite-sized portion. Thread them into skewers and grill them just before eating. The sauce will have to be peanut sauce, that is made of dry roasted peanuts, candlenuts, and some red chili; have them chopped very finely in a food processor. Heat some cooking oil in a wok over medium heat and start sauteing the peanut mixture. Add a little water at a time until the consistency of the mixture looks like tahini. Add salt to taste. Have ready Indonesian sweet soy sauce, sliced shallots or red onions, and sliced chili padi. When the satays are done, mixed the peanut sauce with sweet soy sauce, some sliced onions, chili, and fried shallots on a plate. Dip the satays in the sauce, and pull the juicy meat away from skewer slowly…you get the picture.
How about the sweet pork satay? This need some preparation a day ahead. The recipe is simple, really. What needs to be achieved in the marinade is flavorful with herbal note and sweet enough. Main ingredients will be shallots, garlic, coriander, cumin, galangal, lemongrass (white part only, not the fibrous part), palm sugar, a bit tamarind paste, sweet soy sauce, and some vegetable oil. Mix all these ingredients in a food processor. Add more brown or granulated sugar and salt because the taste should be sweet enough. Thinly sliced Kaffir lime leaves are also added. Rub the marinade over pork loin–boneless–that has been cut into bite-sized pieces, and leave them in refrigerate at least overnight. This marinade is also excellent to use for beef satay.
Lastly, the tempe satay which I will write the recipe with exact ingredients and directions! Don’t know why I’m so excited with writing a recipe, I guess since I’ve been pretty vague about recipes in the last two paragraphs It is again a super easy recipe, just make sure you get the regular tempe–just plain soybeans–not the ones with other grains added to it.
Spicy Tempe Satay
Makes about 8-10 skewers (4-5 tempe each skewer)
500 gr tempe, cut into 1-inch cube
250 ml + 4 tablespoons coconut milk
200 ml water
6 red chili
1 teaspoon roughly chopped turmeric
3 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons roughly chopped lemongrass
1/2 teaspoon tamarind paste
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste–terasi, in Bahasa Indonesia
2 teaspoons palm sugar or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Combine tempe, coconut milk and the spice paste in a big pot or wok over medium heat. Cook until the sauce thickens, stir occasionally.
Drain tempe from the sauce, thread into skewers. Grill over medium heat in the gas or charcoal griller. Brush with sauce while grilling. The satay is done when the surface of tempe is slightly blackened.
Source: Tahu & Tempe book by Primarasa