Thursday, January 14, 2010

Daring Cooks Pork Sate

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. This month's Daring Cooks' Challenge called for pork sate. Although Indonesia's sate is well known, the recipe identified the challenge's sate as Thai. Sate in Thailand actually appears to have immigrated north from Malaysia, and as it moved north from the Muslim influence of the south, pork (taboo to Muslims, of course) became an acceptable meat.

In Indonesia, which has some 216 million Muslims out of a total population of around 240 million, pork sate is not usually found outside of Bali and Chinese communities. Although in Bali pork sate is now served with peanut sauce because that's what tourists expect, most Indonesians eat pork sate with sambal kecap--a sauce of kecap manis, lime juice, garlic, shallots, and chilies. I must say that I also prefer sambal kecap with pork sate. Peanut sauce somehow doesn't complement the pork sate. In the photo, peanut sauce is on the left, sambal kecap on the right.

I'm having a hell of a time getting photos, what with the shorter days and my teaching schedule. As a result, I thought I'd wait until there's more light to do a proper posting on sate babi (pork sate) as I know it. For the challenge, I used a marinade from a cookbook I picked up in Indonesia many years ago for a generic meat sate (beef, lamb, or goat). I much prefer Sri Owen's first cookbook, Indonesian Food and Cookery, even though she had to make many compromises when she wrote it because of the difficulty of finding Indonesian ingredients at that time.

I served the sate with a peanut sauce and sambal kecap, but I think I was the only one in the house who actually tried the peanut sauce. It just doesn't belong with pork sate.

Sate Daging (recipe adapted from Indonesian and Thai Cookery by Sri Owen)

3 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, pounded to a paste in a mortar
1 TBS coconut vinegar
2 tsp coriander, ground
1/2 tsp cumin, ground
2 TBS light soy sauce
2 TBS vegetable oil

1 lb pork shoulder, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8--12 bamboo skewers, soaked in water several hours

Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the meat and stir well. Marinate for at least two hours.

Skewer the meat and grill over a hot flame for 6 to 8 minutes, turning several times. Ideally, you should grill over charcoal, but a gas grill is ok.


  1. Sambal kecap now that is the correct sauce to have with pork. Your photo is wonderful and so professional well done. And congrats on your marvellous result. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. I adore the picture, it looks delicious.

  3. Thanks for sharing the history, I found it really interesting. Your satay look so delicious & authentic, really evokes all the senses. Well done!

  4. Sambal kecap, now that sounds great! I've only ever had the peanut sauce version of satay, now I have to try it with the sambal kecap. Great job on the challange, great photos!

  5. "Bali pork sate is now served with peanut sauce because that's what tourists expect"

    Absolutely. :) My mom says some nasty word that sounds like "fah-long" whenever she sees the word peanut anywhere near Thai food. She says it's definitely a Westerner's thing. She also prefers her sate dipped in *just* peppers and fish sauce. If it's not extreme flavor, she doesn't want it. :)

    I am so glad you picked a marinade more suited to your tastes. The marinade is definitely the key, and your sate babi looks so yummy. ^_^

  6. Your satays look just gorgeous! I love all the different takes on this simple dish - very inspiring!

  7. That is a truly beautiful plate of food. I will be trying your version soon. Also the kecap manis sauce. I am always one to go for the more authentic recipes.

  8. Looks absolutely delicious! Wish I was having some right now. Great job altogether and I must say that the pictures are superb.

  9. Audax, thanks. I'm sure in Australia you must be able to find a lot of authentic Indonesian food.

    Wic, teafactory, Jenny, Jo, thanks for the kind words.

    Cuppy, thanks for the challenge! Your mother, of course, is right! Farangs (foreigners) have committed a number of offenses to Thai food.

    Monkeyshines, the challenges always seem to inspire a lot of creative interpretations.

    Climhighak, your elk sate and moose sate pentul look truly wonderful. And you're right that sate really should be grilled over charcoal, fanning the coals as you cook. I would think sambal kecap would probably complement elk sate.

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