Satay is a dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce, usually peanut sauce. It is a popular street food in many Southeast Asian countries, especially Indonesia, where it is considered a national dish. The history of satay is influenced by the spice and textile trade between Indonesia and other regions, such as India, the Middle East, and Europe.
According to some sources, inspired by the Indian kebab, which itself has its roots in the Mughal Empire and ancient Persian culture and cuisine. During the 18th and early 19th century, there was an influx of Muslim Indian and Arab traders and immigrants in Indonesia, who brought along their culinary traditions and ingredients, such as spices, nuts, and meat. The local Javanese people adapted the kebab to their own taste and preference, using local spices, coconut milk, and peanut sauce.
Satay soon spread to other parts of Indonesia and neighboring countries, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, and East Timor, where it became a popular snack and meal. Each region and country has its own variation of satay, using different types of meat, marinades, and sauces, reflecting the diversity and creativity of the Southeast Asian cuisine. Satay is also recognized and enjoyed in other parts of the world, such as Suriname, the Netherlands, and Sri Lanka, where it has been introduced by immigrants and travelers.
The peanut sauce for Thai satay is made from red curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, tamarind, sugar and ground peanuts. It does not contain hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, or other ingredients that may be found in peanut dipping sauces from other cuisines.
Thai peanut sauce is not a common condiment in Thailand, and it is only served with specific dishes like satay. It is not poured on salad, rice, noodles, or cooked meat as it may be done in other countries. Thai people don’t know what ‘peanut sauce’ is because they don’t use it as a generic term for any sauce that contains peanuts. They have different names and recipes for different sauces that have peanuts as one of the ingredients, such as satay sauce, cubed tofu sauce, and tod mun sauce. The peanut sauce that tourists know and love is most likely a variation of the satay sauce.
Thai Satay Chicken with Peanut Sauce
This is a dish that you can find on every corner of the street in Thailand. It doesn't need to be chicken, can be also pork or beef. Creamy peanut sauce makes a perfect combination of flavours. One of our favourites nonetheless.
Grind coriander, cumin seeds, and white peppercorns in a mortar and pestle until very fine, then add galangal, lemongrass and pound until fine. Add turmeric powder, cinnamon, brown sugar, salt, vinegar, coconut milk, and water; stir to mix well.If you can't find galangal you can substitute it with a fresh ginger root and few drops of lemon juice.
Cut meat into small cubes.
Pour marinade over the meat, massage well with your hands so the meat is covered with it and make sure meat pieces don't stick together. Place in the fridge for about 2 hours or overnight.
Grind peanuts and sesame seeds in food processor. Do not over grind it into a butter though.
Cook a small amount of coconut milk in a small pot on medium heat. Add curry paste and continue cooking constantly stirring until thick. If it's thickening too fast add a little bit more milk. It should take about 2 minutes.
Add the rest of the milk, ground peanuts, sesame seeds, fish sauce, sugar and tamarind juice and stir still cooking. Keep cooking on a medium-small heat until thickened to a dip consistency constantly stirring to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
Skewer meat into bamboo skewers (3-4 pieces on each). Brush top of the meat with coconut milk and place skewer milky side down on a grill or frying pan. Fry until half cooked, brush the top of the meat with coconut milk and turn that side down on the grill. Fry until fully cooked this time. It should take only a few minutes so watch it closely.
Serve skewers with a peanut sauce on a side.
Serving Size 1 skewer
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 162kcal
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 11.8g19%
- Saturated Fat 3.7g19%
- Cholesterol 11mg4%
- Sodium 562mg24%
- Potassium 230mg7%
- Total Carbohydrate 8.8g3%
- Dietary Fiber 2.2g9%
- Sugars 3.4g
- Protein 7.6g16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.