Satay: Beef, Chicken or Pork

Even though satay (sate) refers to to skewered, grilled meat served with one of a variety of sauces (ie. sweet or regular soy, pineapple, tempeh) , most people have come to expect satay to be served with a peanut sauce. It’s this most well-known type of satay that I’m going to make in this post.

Satay consists of two components: first, a marinade that flavours and tenderizes the meat before threading the meat onto skewers and grilling it. Second, a sauce (usually peanut based) to serve with the skewers. I’ve been using a jarred satay bbq sauce which can be used for both purposes with some additional ingredients added to the sauce before using it as a marinade. However, I decided to make everything from scratch for a change using a recipe that I found on

Although I chose to make my satay with pork tenderloin, it can be made with boneless, skinless chicken thighs (more flavourful than breasts and won’t dry out as much) or thinly sliced beef tenderloin.

Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce – makes 16 skewers, serve 2 per person as an appetizer and 4 per person as a main

1 pound of pork (loin or shoulder cuts)

16 6-8 inch wooden or bamboo skewers, soaked in warm water for 20-30 minutes

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ginger root, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice**
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil)

** I didn’t have any lemons in the house so I used 1/2 tsp of the tamarind concentrate in the picture below, diluting it with enough water to equal 2 tbsp total. It’s normally used to make the sauce for Indian panipuri … not that I’ve ever made them.

If you have a small food processor or blender, dump in everything except the pork and blend until smooth. Otherwise, chop the onions, garlic and ginger really fine then mix it all together in a medium to large bowl.

Cut pork into 16 x 1 inch wide and 1/4 inch thick strips. (My tenderloin was about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide, so I cut it in half,  and then I cut each half lengthwise into 4 x 2 inch wide planks. Each plank was then cut in half.)

Cover pork with marinade.

You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the meat and marinade into a ziplock bag, seal and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Pat the soaked skewers dry and gently and slowly slide meat strips onto the skewers. Discard the leftover marinade.

Broil or grill at 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.

Serve the satay with Basmati or jasmine rice and sauce (recipe below) for dipping.

Peanut Sauce – makes about 1 cup, enough for a tablespoon per skewer.

3/4 cup coconut milk
4 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)

In a small saucepan combine the dry ingredients with the soy sauce and lemon juice, mixing well. Add the coconut milk and peanut butter, stirring again and then place over medium low heat. Stir the contents often so you get a smooth mixture.

The peanut sauce may be made ahead of time so as to let the spicy chilies infuse the sauce. Reheat before serving in that case. If needed, you may thin the sauce with a tsp or two of water. Make extra as it’s delicious over the accompanying rice or dipping.


4 thoughts on “Satay: Beef, Chicken or Pork

  1. I have some catching up to do! I love this dish, but have only made with chicken. I was very interested in seeing the tamarind product. I’ll have to look for something like it, here. I usually buy it by the block, soak and strain tamarind. 🙂

    1. I do the same thing with a block of tamarind when I make pad thai. I did buy a jar of tamarind extract used for pani puri but it’s a lot more concentrated so I don’t know how much to use.

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