Satay + satay sauce + cucumber relish

This recipe requires a lot of specialty ingredients that not everyone will have on hand, and a grill (you could do it in a char-grill pan but it wouldn’t be as good), and basically three recipes (the satay & satay marinade, satay/peanut sauce, and cucumber relish) but it’s a classic, and great party food. I can’t believe we’ve only done it once so far!

The recipe is from a huge, photo-filled, hardcover Thai cookbook called Thai Street Food: Authentic recipes, vibrant traditions by David Thompson. But since it’s $37 and not everyone wants that detailed of a book on Thai food (to us, though, Thai food is amazing), I’m happy to provide a condensed version of the recipe here.

Ingredients: 1 tbsp coriander seeds, 1 tsp. cumin seeds, 3 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass (you can buy this pre-minced and frozen at Asian grocery stores), 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp chopped galangal (we just use powder), 1.5 tsp. turmeric powder, pinch of roasted chili powder, ½ c. coconut cream, 2 tbsp. coconut or veg. oil, 1 tbsp shaved palm sugar (you could use regular sugar if you had to)


  • Marinade: Roast coriander & cumin, shaking pan, until aromatic. Grind with mortar & pestle. Add lemongrass, salt, galangal. Pound into paste. Stir turmeric and chili powders in. Add coconut cream, oil, sugar. Stir until dissolved. Put in bowl.
  • Marinating the pork: Cut into thin slices, about 1.5 x 1.5 inch pieces. Marinate (1 hr. minimum, or overnight). Note: I’m surprised they don’t recommend this, but what *I* did was use a meat tenderizer on that stuff to get it thin!
  • Soak skewers in water 30 minutes. Thread three slices of marinated pork onto each. (Optional: Marinade longer after doing that.)
  • Run your grill for a while until it becomes a gentle heat. The cooking process is more like smoking than charring.
  • Put coconut cream in bowl with pinch of salt. Dip each satay in that before grilling. You can baste them with more coconut cream as they grill, if you like. Turn often. The book does not say how long to cook them for but they’re thin so it doesn’t take too long.
  • Serve with satay/peanut sauce and cucumber relish.

As for the satay/peanut sauce and cucumber relish recipes… Thompson’s satay sauce sounds amazing but there are simpler versions. We use this recipe, from Her “hack” is basically that she takes advantage of the fact that Thai red curry paste already has in it the various spices that you need. She has a recipe for cucumber relish (ajat/ajad/achat) as well.


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