Friday, January 15, 2010

Pork Satay with Peanut sauce and Pepper dip

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Indonesian restaurants are a dime a dozen in The Netherlands, but here in sprawling Houston (a city that boasts more ethnic eateries than any other city in the US) it is inconceivable that there are only two (deux, dva, dos, yes only 2) listed.  Compared to Chinese, Vietnamese and Indian restaurants, they are an anomaly.  When visiting my sister and her family during their two stints in Holland, Sama Sebo on Hooftstraat, down the street from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, was our favorite Indonesian restaurant.  With our little boys, we would stop in for an afternoon snack between sight-seeing and the museums and always order the Sateh.  Normally quiet between meals, we had the entire place to ourselves.  They also serve a nice Rijsttafel.

I have longed for the Sama Sebo recipe.  Their Sateh was served accompanied by a dark and spicy peanut sauce (the likes of which I have not had since) and slices of fresh bread.  I believe this recipe comes pretty close to the real deal, but Sama Sebo’s sauce will always be my sentimental favorite!  My nephews were my taste-testers today – one of them the little boy in a stroller in Sama Sebo sixteen years ago!  He is now 6’4” tall and a freshman in college!  Both he and his brother gave this Satay two thumbs up and made me promise to make it again, as well as Jen’s dumplings!

DBKitchen logoThe 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.

The recipe below includes my minor changes.  I chose to use pork tenderloin because I like the leanness factor and I was confident the marinade would inject a lot of flavor into the otherwise bland meat.  I was right and it was tender and moist and very flavorful.  The fish sauce in the marinade is optional but I always include it;  what would an Asian dish be without it?  If you want to see the original recipe, please see Cuppy’s link above.

Pork Satay with Peanut sauce and Pepper dip

Satay marinade

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon ginger root, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon ‘lite’ soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil)

1 pound pork tenderloin or loin

If you have a food processor, place all ingredients except the pork and blend until smooth.  Otherwise, chop onion, garlic and ginger as fine as you can and mix with the other ingredients until well blended.
Cut pork tenderloin in half crosswise and then into 1 inch wide by 1/2-inch thick strips (the strips should measure about 4 - 5 inches in length).  Place in a bowl or Ziploc bag and add marinade.  Blend together so that the pork strips are completely covered.  Chill for 2 hours for tenderloin and 4 hours and up to 24 hours for less tender cuts.

To cook:

If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak your skewers in warm water for at least 20 minutes before preparing skewers to try to prevent them from burning.  As you can see from the pictures, my skewers charred, but fortunately they didn’t effect the flavor of the meat.
Gently and slowly slide meat strips onto skewers. Discard leftover marinade.
Broil or grill at 290°C/550° F for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another few minutes until cooked through.

Peanut sauce

3/4 cup coconut milk (6 oz or 180 mls)  Next time, I will reduce this amount for a thicker sauce.
4 tablespoons peanut butter (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 tablespoons lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tablespoons ‘lite’ soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 teaspoon brown sugar (5 mls)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (2.5 mls)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (2.5 mls)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (as a topping)                                                                

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.  Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well with a whisk until the peanut butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. 

Pepper dip

4 tablespoons ‘lite’ soy sauce (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 teaspoon brown sugar (5 mls)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 finely chopped green onion (scallion)

Mix well. Serve chilled or at room temperature with the Peanut sauce and chopped peanuts.

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Thanks to Lis and Ivonne for founding our Daring Bakers and Daring Cooks groups and keeping us on track with great ideas. 



  1. WOWOWOWOW OMG your photos are perfection and could be used in a cook book and yes another blogger mentioned that they are only 2 Thai restaurants in all of Rome!!!! Superb work on this challenge and your peanut sauce is wonderful. Bravo. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. This looks soooo good. I love satay. I need to try your dish. It's calling my name!

  3. Dragana, Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I like your idea of using lean pork. I must admit (besides your fabulous photos) the dipping sauces are what clinched the deal for me. Different than any sauces than I've ever had with Satay.

    5:30AM and my mouth is watering after seeing your beautiful post. It goes right onto the "to make SOON" list. :D

  4. This is wonderful!

    I'll have to come back to Daring cooks soon :)

  5. Dragana, I'm saving your recipe to make later in the week. I have a couple of pork tenderloin in the freezer destined for your Satay. Thanks

  6. That first photograph is absolutely amazing! Delish!


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