Thursday, January 14, 2010

Daring Cooks Do Satays

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day. satay_0014_web_large

In a break with tradition, we followed the recipe exactly and liked both the satay marinade and the peanut sauce (well, we did add a bit of harissa to the peanut sauce to spice it up).  For the meat, we cut two large, boneless pork chops into thin strips and marinated them for most of the day. For fun, we also made a tofu satay which was marinated in coconut milk, fish sauce and garlic. 

While we both love the crispy-creamy texture of broiled tofu, tasters in the monkeyshines kitchen unanimously preferred Cuppy’s marinade for flavor.  Served with rice and a nice Thai-inspired salad, dinner was ready in a few minutes (not counting time to marinate) and we had plenty of leftovers for the next day. We had planned to cook the satays over glowing coals on our Weber grill, but it was raining so we used the (indoor)broiler instead.


Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce

Satay Marinade

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 T ginger root, chopped (optional) (2 cm cubed)
2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp ground coriander (5 mls)
1 tsp ground cumin (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (2-2.5 mls)
2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (30 mls)
1 pound of pork (loin or shoulder cuts) (16 oz or 450g)

Feeling the need to make it more Thai? Try adding a dragon chili, an extra tablespoon of ginger root, and 1 tablespoon (0.5 oz or 15 mls) of fish sauce. (I keep some premature (still green) dragon chili peppers in the freezer for just such an occasion.) Monkeyshines: So do we!

1a. Cheater alert: If you have a food processor or blender, dump in everything except the pork and blend until smooth. Lacking a food processor, I prefer to chop my onions, garlic and ginger really fine then mix it all together in a medium to large bowl.
2a. Cut pork into 1 inch strips.
3a. Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.
4. If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak your skewers in warm water for at least 20 minutes before preparing skewers.
5. Gently and slowly slide meat strips onto skewers. Discard leftover marinade.*
6. Broil or grill at 290°C/550° F (or pan fry on medium-high) for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another 8-10 minutes.

* If you’re grilling or broiling, you could definitely brush once with extra marinade when you flip the skewers.

Peanut Sauce

3/4 cup coconut milk (6 oz or 180 mls)
4 Tbsp peanut butter (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (2.5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground coriander (2.5 mls)
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)

1. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.
2. Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.
3. All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.


Thai-inspired Salad


Napa cabbage
Small Persian cucumber (or about 1/3 of a regular cucumber)
Thai bird chili
Fish Sauce
Lemon juice
Toasted rice powder (optional to garnish)*

* toast a few tablespoons of otherwise uncooked white rice under the grill, then bash it up in a mortar and pestle until fine. The texture will be slightly ‘gritty’, which sounds unpleasant but it actually adds a nice toasted note and a hint of crunchy texture to the salad.

Mix the fish sauce, honey and lemon juice to make a dressing (this is a bit non-traditional, but we didn’t have any lime handy). Slice the rest of the ingredients. Lightly sauté the shallot to take the edge off, then toss everything together.

There was some discussion on the DC boards about whether the satay recipe is truly authentic (nobody claimed it was), but the monkey’s philosophy has always been that authenticity takes a backseat to delicious.


Thanks Cuppy for a great recipe!


  1. wow, a thai-inspired salad to go with it too, it looks and sounds delicious! So is pork and tofu satay :)

  2. love your play on the satay and adore the salad. amazing job with this challenge

  3. The salad sounds really yummy! Whish I had come up with that, I thought we should have needed something green with it but I was too tired to think of something creative. Glad you enjoyed your satay, great job on the challenge!

  4. Woohoo! :D What a fun post! It sounds like you have a lot of fun in the kitchen together. :)

    That salad looks awesome, too. I grew up with a similar sounding salad, so I think that's right up my alley. ;)

  5. Love everything about your post and yes these recipes are Thai inspired and so simple and quick and pretty good great for 1st timers. Wonderful effort and result love that salad. Congrats on this challenge. Cheeers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  6. Your satay looks fab! You've inspired me to give the tofu a try. Nice job on the salad. Really enjoyed your philosophy on relationship between authenticity and delicious. That monkey is insightful!

  7. Adding harissa to the peanut sauce is a great idea! Yummy!

  8. Okay, this is really "my bad" encore for the 3rd time. This is my 3rd attempt to leave a comment. I swear i left you a comment couple of days ago, as i said i must have not hit the post button. Then few seconds ago i left another comment but unfortunately i accidentally hit the return/back button! I love the addition of harissa! I've seen those small cute cukes but doesn't bother buying them coz i thought they are only for pickling. I'm buying some next time i see them.

  9. I used boneless pork chops for mine as well and they turned out delicious.

    tHat salad looks yummy! I'm going to have to make it sometime!

  10. Delicious looking meat with the satay (pork and tofu) and the Thai-inspired salad looks like a great addition to the satay! Great job on the challenge!