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DianaB

Satay from scratch

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I am hoping someone here might help me find a recipe for Satay that I can share with the friends who are kindly accommodating me this week.  They had Satay Gambas in a restaurant a couple of years ago but they have never managed to recapture the flavour at home.  They are very experienced cooks but they don’t have any real knowledge of spices.  That said there is little they have to learn about traditional French cuisine.  I imagine a recipe for a chicken based Satay would work fine with gambas.

 

I did search before posting this topic but I couldn’t find a recipe based upon individual spices rather than a mix that would perhaps not be available in rural France.  

 

Would anyone help?

 

I can source spices at home or on-line if necessary.  I will also contribute a set of scales that can weigh fractions of a gramme so that they can make their own spice mix, I think that would be something they would enjoy.

 

Any suggestions would be very much welcomed.

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What type of satay are you looking to make? Satay is common in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, China, etc, and none of them are the same - some may have similarities, and some would be wildly different.  So having an idea in mind of what you are trying to make would be helpful.

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Many thanks @KennethT for your response.  My friends are totally inexperienced in respect of this type of recipe.  Their memory is of an unforgettable and excellent sauce which seems to have included roasted chopped peanuts and spices that they can’t define.  The restaurant was at a French seaside resort , we’re not talking gastronomy here, rather a French bistrot interpretation.

 

My own research and discussion with my friends leads me to think they should try one of the numerous spice mixes they have bought with a sauce based on coconut milk which they have never tried.  That is easily available here.  Ideally I would love to understand the spicing so that we can make something they can repeat.  The miscellaneous mixes now in the kitchen probably won’t be found again.

 

Many thanks for your reply.  All further ideas welcome! 

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The best satay I've had were in Singapore - and the sauce was sort of like a coconut curry with chopped peanuts added.  I've never made it before, but It is slightly sweet from palm sugar and could possibly contain tamarind.  I would probably start with a search for something like that...  I imagine the curry paste would include lemongrass, galangal, chilis, turmeric and garlic.  I wouldn't be surprised if there were spices as well, but I don't know what they would be.

 

Sorry I can't be of more help... good luck - and keep us posted!

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As Kenneth states, satay is  a generic term. Also taste memories are significantly colored by the setting and company. Based on your description and my experiences I suggest the following: 

Test drive it yourself first.  Very very lightly season the shrimp with a curry powder on the warm spice side of the scale like this ubiquitous Japanse one (image attached) and the fatty top of can cream from the tinned coconut milk. Marinate briefly and then pan or fire grill until just firm - no rubber band stuff ;)  For the sauce I would do a simple peanut sauce with regular chunky peanut butter (not the fancy stuff). It already has added sugar. At a bare simmer let it come together with coconut milk and just a bit of a Thai red curry paste (can); adjusting to taste.  A little tamarind would be subtle for tartness and added complexity, but a squeeze of lime or lemon or even vinegar would work. Of course the best shrimp possible rather than the industrial stuff certainly is a huge factor. Good luck!

Oh - both extra coconut milk and curry paste freeze beautifully.

 

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IMG_0574.JPG


Edited by heidih (log)
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Oops- and use some fish sauce as the salt seasoning in the marinade

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Here is an Indonesian Spiced Peanut Sauce that can be served with fish/shrimp/chicken.

 

In the recipe for chicken Sate, 12 oz of chicken pieces are marinated in 1 t finely chopped garlic, 1 t salt, 1/8 t white pepper,2 T  ketjap manis, 2 t fresh lime juice for about 30 min to 2 hours and served with the sauce:

 

The Sauce: Makes 2 cups

Saute 2 T oil, 1/4 c finely chopped shallots and 1 t finely chopped garlic in a pan for 4 minutes, stirring.   Do not burn.

Add 1/4 t trassi or shrimp paste and mix well with shallots.

Pour in 2 c chicken stock and boil over high heat.

Stirring constantly, add 1/2 cup shelled then pulverized peanuts, 1 T ketjap manis, 1 t lime juice, 1/4 t finely grated fresh ginger root and 1/4 t finely chopped fresh chili.  Reduce the heat and reduce the sauce to the point where it coats the spoon heavily.  Serve with the grilled satays.

 

This next one is a bit less complicated and is for chicken but you could put it on shrimp too:

 

750 g shrimp or pieces of chicken

In a blender combine until smooth:  

2 chillies coarsely chopped or 1/2 t samba ulek

2 medium onions coarsely chopped

3 t coarsely chopped fresh ginger root

2 T lemon juice

1.5 t salt

2 T light soy sauce

2 T dark soy sauce

 

Once blended pour into a bowl and stir in:

2 T sesame oil

2 T palm sugar or you can use brown

 

Marinate the chicken in this for 1 to 2 hours for chicken and only 15 min for shrimp.

 

Grill and brush with the marinade.

 

The extra marinade is then mixed with 1/2 cup thick coconut milk and brought to a boil and serve with the cooked satays

 

This is also an Indonesian recipe

 

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11 hours ago, DianaB said:

I am hoping someone here might help me find a recipe for Satay that I can share with the friends who are kindly accommodating me this week.  They had Satay Gambas in a restaurant a couple of years ago but they have never managed to recapture the flavour at home.  They are very experienced cooks but they don’t have any real knowledge of spices.  That said there is little they have to learn about traditional French cuisine.  I imagine a recipe for a chicken based Satay would work fine with gambas.

 

I did search before posting this topic but I couldn’t find a recipe based upon individual spices rather than a mix that would perhaps not be available in rural France.  

 

Would anyone help?

 

I can source spices at home or on-line if necessary.  I will also contribute a set of scales that can weigh fractions of a gramme so that they can make their own spice mix, I think that would be something they would enjoy.

 

Any suggestions would be very much welcomed.

 

I don't think I'd be allowed to post the recipe but Craig Clairborne has an excellent pork satay in the New York Times Cook Book.  I've made it several times.  The secret ingredient is Brazil nuts...of which it happens I seem to have a bag.  Clairborne says he adapted the recipe from Pearl Metzelthin's World Wide Cook Book.

 

Other than possibly Brazil nuts nothing that one couldn't find in rural France.  No spices more exotic than black and red pepper.  Oh, and coriander seed.

 

Now I want some.

 

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12 minutes ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

I don't think I'd be allowed to post the recipe but Craig Clairborne has an excellent pork satay in the New York Times Cook Book.  I've made it several times.  The secret ingredient is Brazil nuts...of which it happens I seem to have a bag.  Clairborne says he adapted the recipe from Pearl Metzelthin's World Wide Cook Book.

 

This one?

 

He also has a general satay sauce recipe here.


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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Thank you so much @KennethT, @heidih, @Okanagancook, @JoNorvelleWalker and @liuzhou for all of your advice.  I’m confident I can put something together that should resemble the meal my friends remember.  Today is market day here in La Flèche so if they want gambas we should be able to find them, otherwise it will be chicken for a first try.  

 

I’ll update if we are able to make this dish while I am in France.  

 

Many thanks again

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A bit late to this topic, but maybe I can help. I make a Javanese Satay, almost always with chicken and sometimes with beef or lamb/goat, but not with shrimp.  I suppose no reason it couldn't be made with shrimp, except for the fact that the flavor is likely to be overwhelmed by the cacophony of flavors and the susceptibility to overcooking.

 

Anyway, first step is to marinate the protein, in a mixture of blended shallot (.25kg-.5kg), garlic, and ground coriander seed (2 tblsp, whole), black pepper (1tsp), salt, oil, mixed with "kecap manis," which is a thick soy sauce condiment made with palm molasses (I prefer the Bango brand, but the more easily available outside of Indonesia "ABC" brand is fine).  If you can't get "kecap manis" you can try to use dark soy and dope it with palm sugar and molasses, but I consider this to be a critical ingredient for real Indonesian satay.  Let it marinate for at least an hour and grill on soaked skewers (preferably over charcoal).

 

The topping sauce is made by stir-frying copious amounts of shallots (.25-.5kg) with some garlic, salt, pepper, ground coriander, and chili in oil. Once that is browned off, stir in roasted peanuts pounded/blended into a near paste with water (thinned out natural style peanut butter can be subbed) and some coconut sugar/gula melaka (brown sugar can be subbed).  After that is fried for a few minutes add in coconut cream and kecap manis.  I like to also finish with some fried shallot for texture.  

 

I don't use a recipe, but everything is really to taste, and as thick or thin as you prefer.

 

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This topic interests me as well, since I’m about to introduce a satay dipping sauce to my delivery-at-home-from-scratch menu.

for those unaware, it’s basically a Meals-on-Wheels for time poor folk, without being takeaway or pizza every night.

i know my clients will be used to the generic Asian takeaway satay sauce, so they will be expecting crunchy peanuts and creamy, spicy goodness.

thanks for the above recipes, I will be kitchen testing some of those this weekend.

 

for the record - I have perfected my KFC style fried chicken just recently, and received rave reviews so it’s being incorporated into my new season menu.  Instead of partnering it up with a carb (ie: potato or rice) I’m offering it on its own with four different dipping sauces:

Lemon (to make Lemon Chicken)

Garlic Tzatziki (for a Greek style)

Asian Soy and Spring Onion

Satay

 

any hints here to make it shine beyond every day takeout would be hugely appreciated.

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Just returned to put together my shopping list for a first attempt at this dish.  Those craving a recreation of their restaurant experience insist that only gambas will do, I would have opted for chicken as a less expensive experiment but I’m not making this for me.

 

Many thanks @IEATRIO and @Cronker for your contributions, all advice will be taken into account as best I can and with stuff I can find locally.

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Back from our attempt to find ingredients for a first attempt.  No gambas to be had so we will use chicken. No fresh citronnelle and no Thai curry paste.  After visiting all possible shops we have the items pictured plus garlic and onions already here.

 

To be tried tomorrow..... 

251390E3-F994-4658-8C73-65EEB59E1076.thumb.jpeg.5efcdd260bd1ac69d401efb454336808.jpeg

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The meal has been made, as I mentioned yesterday we had to use chicken because there were no gambas to be had.  Based on the ingredients available I made a marinade for the chicken using garlic, ginger, shallot, green chili pepper, salt, black pepper and small amounts of the Thai seasoning and curry paste we had found.  I sautéed the ginger, shallot, garlic and chili for a few minutes:

 

F60E524D-FB8E-40F6-A20B-6419CC60A9A5.thumb.jpeg.c2ccf12e611ce40a7a94236be3dfe8eb.jpeg

 

Next added the other seasonings and the thicker part of the coconut milk to complete a marinade.

 

F992EA68-BE1D-4D41-BE05-1188428FB26D.thumb.jpeg.2be4381ddde1752d0e5cf7d7baa3624d.jpeg

 

The chicken in strips sat in the marinade while I made the accompanying sauce.  Peanut butter, soy sauce, coconut milk, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of piment d’espelette to liven it up a bit.  I should have bought another fresh chili to add.  I hadn’t understood that the peanut element should be warm but there was time to stick it in a pan and warm it through.  

 

Ready to cook the chicken, I was now informed that one of the couple I was cooking for wouldn’t be eating the results because he doesn’t like chicken breast.  I baked the chicken coated in its marinade for 20 minutes:

 

E0197C83-2B9D-43C7-941C-8B71FA3D1F66.thumb.jpeg.914d1833743dbb6df99408fbe4cf87cc.jpeg

 

I’m not keen on peanuts so I served the chicken separate to the sauce together with basmati rice.  The friend who did share the meal with me said that it was good but absolutely nothing like the satay they had enjoyed in a restaurant.  I have suggested that they return to that restaurant and ask for advice.  I know nothing of Thai cooking but I will make the chicken part again for my husband once home.  It would probably be good with salad as an alternative to rice.

 

Below is my plate before addition of the rice.  The very small portion of satay sauce reflects my own tastes, there was plenty left.  The balance of the ingredients will go home with me on Sunday.

 

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Tonight we are having tartiflette which should suit everyone’s tastes.  I will need to buy some larger clothes tomorrow....

 

Many thanks to all here who have helped me in my (failed) attempt to recreate the meal.  I have learnt much about the dish, the limited availability of ‘exotic’ ingredients here and the preconceptions of certain individuals xD

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50 minutes ago, DianaB said:

Ready to cook the chicken, I was now informed that one of the couple I was cooking for wouldn’t be eating the results because he doesn’t like chicken breast.

O.o

>:(

Really? They couldn't "suck it up" for one meal?

In the future, said friend would be better served dining out instead of eating in my home.

Da nerve of da guy! 

xD

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Posted (edited)

I agree withToliver’s comments. 

So, now from your last note it seems you were aiming to replicate a Thai satay?  As stated by others the Cuisine makes a big difference .  I think you need to establish this.  Having said that your satay look lovely.  Would have grilled them if possible.  A lot learned which is good.

 

And now you have me craving some satay.


Edited by Okanagancook (log)
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May I ask, how did you cook your satay if not grilled?  I apologize if somehow I missed the information.

 

Next week Shoprite has pork tenderloin on sale for US$1.29...

 

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Posted (edited)

Again,  many thanks to all who have supported me through the ‘Satay’ adventure via this thread.  

 

To clarify a couple of things, I was staying with friends in France last week.  They had spoken repeatedly of a remarkable Satay dish eaten at a seaside restaurant some 4 years ago.  When I began my attempts to recreate their dish I hadn’t realised their memory was so distant, I thought it had been last summer or perhaps that before when they had been at Pornic, the seaside town concerned.

 

My friends are retired restauranteurs with decades of experience but their excellent cooking is based on traditional French food with a sprinkling of Italian dishes thrown in.  ‘J’ opened the first pizzeria in the area in 1990 when all local banks refused to support him with such a ridiculous project!  That restaurant was a success and trades to this day under new ownership.

 

A little context is now perhaps relevant to properly respond to other comments.

 

At each recent meeting J and M have spoken of their love of their Satay Gambas and last week they showed me the various powders and potions bought online or sent by a family member living in Turkey.  J and M know that at home I cook some ‘exotic’ dishes and so again they asked if I had any advice.  I inspected the spice mix from Turkey, it might have been interesting when fresh but it had no aroma and its composition remains a mystery as it had been bought from a market in an unlabelled bag.  A similar bag holds a half kilo of ‘safron’ but if the content is really safron I’m the man in the moon.  Never mind, Turmeric makes a nice base for some things and the powder will probably stay in its bag until the end of days.

 

The above resulted in me starting this thread in hope that collectively we might make some progress.  I studied your advices and also read around the topic across the Internet.  I asked my friends to tell me of any flavours they could recall from the Pornic dish.  Both said only that peanuts gave texture to a sauce that was delicious with the famous gambas.  We weren’t getting very far and I was somewhat lost having never seen Satay let alone tasted it.  I don’t like peanuts as I have written before.  I will try anything once however so I attempted to put together a list of items that could be found locally.  Had I been cooking at home the list would have been different because we have a few Asian stores not too far away and Mr Amazon will deliver from his grocery by next day.  We subscribe so next day delivery in the UK is free and that saves us a lot of petrol.

 

M came shopping with me.  We searched everywhere for gambas or other appropriate seafood but bearing in mind that much of France was badly hit by snow last week produce from the sea was thin on the ground at best.  I suggested chicken or pork. Chicken was M’s reluctant choice but she insisted we shouldn’t buy an entire bird because she still gets them wholesale and has a freezer full. There wasn’t time to defrost a bird she advised.  At home I could have done that but I wasn’t at home.  My choice would therefore have been boned chicken thighs but we were forced to go for breast fillets as these were the only organic option available and I won’t buy the other types of chicken meat in France or the UK knowing very well how the birds have been raised.

 

While the hypermarkets in rural France are vast their stock supports traditional French cooking, some Italian and a minute range of Asian ingredients.  We scoured the town for lemongrass but there was none to be had.  In the end I bought a bag of dried leaves intended for tisane that the very pleasant young woman at a ‘Bio’ (organic) supermarket assured me others had used in cooking.  You have seen the stuff we returned home with. The dried lemongrass might be useful if J and M run out of tooth picks.

 

Back at J and M’s I explained our progress to J.  He announced that he doesn’t eat the white meat of chicken because it is dry and flavourless and therefore not worth the effort of chewing, in his view it is an acceptable cat food.  I tried to assure him that I was capable of making it tasty and moist.  J returned to his crossword and his Gitaine.

 

Having put the meat to marinade I created a sauce based on peanut butter and coconut milk, the thicker part having gone into the marinade I used the more liquid part to let down the sauce.   I asked J and M to taste said sauce.  Both pronounced it good but nothing like that they had enjoyed at Pornic.  Only now I was told that the original peanut sauce had been red in colour.  

 

I don’t know why but I had assumed that having cooked the meat in its coating the sauce would be served cold like a condiment.  By now the chicken was almost ready, also the rice and M asked how I would be cooking the sauce.  I quickly tipped it into a saucepan to warm through.  In fact as you can probably see from the photos posted earlier I managed to split the sauce but by now I was becoming exasperated so I said nothing and whisked in a little water, a technique that has saved sauces for me previously.  Not really a success but I don’t think that really mattered.

 

All morning I had been encouraging J to at least taste the chicken.  I knew that I had failed when I saw a pan of beef stew simmering on the hob.  It was a good stew, we had eaten the same earlier in the week and as J and M still cook restaurant quantities (nothing is wasted, food is portioned and frozen) there was plenty.

 

It is unfortunate that all this happened at a time when J and M have just sold their beautiful home due to retirement causing reduced finances.    In France for people of our generation who have managed their own business retirement is financially complicated, I might write on that elsewhere because different decisions taken earlier would have produced a much better outcome and I know there are other eGullet members working in France.  My friends are preparing for a move to the coast where they must now find a much smaller home.  They have lived within 50km of their current home all of their lives so even while the choice to move to the Atlantic is their own it is a huge thing for them.  Location choice was made so that they can be close to their grandchildren.  I won’t go into other personal issues save to say that the death of M’s youngest sister on Christmas Eve hasn’t helped.  All of this has caused depression and intolerance that is understandable.

 

In other circumstances I would have been both hurt and annoyed.  A great deal of effort went into that dish even if it was far from authentic.  J and M know vaguely about this forum and I had made clear that we were privileged to have the advice of experienced cooks from around the world.  

 

In the circumstances as they are I can only repeat my sincere thanks to you all.  Apologies for wanderings in this response; I wanted to fill in some of the context for those who have been so helpful over the past week.   I will certainly use a similar marinade in the future and perhaps even work on the sauce. Your advice has broadened my own limited experience of this style of recipe and learning something new is positive even when the outcome wasn't quite as I had hoped!  

 

COOKING THE CHICKEN

Having cut the chicken into strips before putting them into the marinade I then rolled those strips and set them out in the baking dish pictured in Friday’s post.  That went into a warmed fan oven at 200c for 20 minutes.  We use the same technique at home for tandoori style chicken when we can’t grill outside and it does produce moist meat, flavour enhanced by the marinade in which the rolled strips are coated.  My husband makes a curry dish using chicken thigh meat cooked in this way and at the moment that is my favourite dinner.  He has prepared that for us to enjoy tonight, first night back home, when now retired DH gets home from work :D

 

Most of what I bought in France came home with me.  The peanut butter stayed with J and M because their grandson is with them for a week. He had never tasted peanut butter but found that he likes it very much so his breakfast comprises that on bread for now.  He is an extremely active 10 year old so I don’t think the calories will cause him a problem.  If only I had his energy! 


Edited by DianaB (log)

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About to try this again at home with the leftover seasonings from the first attempt.  Only difference will be chicken thigh meat rather than chicken breast.  Won’t be making any peanut butter sauce, the PB stayed in France, not something we eat at home so guess the result might better be called Thai style chicken rather than Satay.  Had to come back here to see what I did last time as hadn’t noted elsewhere.  :|

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@DianaB I am showing a bit of ignorance here by asking: is a satay not pretty much the same as small kebab? In South Africa we make what is known as a "sosatie" which can be made with seafood, chicken, lamb or beef. Basically marinated meat on a small skewer and normally cooked over coals but often done in an oven. A satay, to me, would be the same sort of dish but normally served with so sort of peanut sauce - but peanut sauces are not that popular in the country. The "sosatie" I occasionally make is either chicken or lamb with a mild sweet curry sauce with the meat separated with dried apricot. Do a Google search for "sosatie recipe" and see what pops up!

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@JohnT That is what I thought.D

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Not sure how yours worked out, @DianaB, but you motivated me to try this Shrimp Satay with Easy Thai Peanut Sauce, both from Leela Punyaratabandhu's blog She Simmers.

IMG_7490.thumb.jpg.0a8e9ca183e19024d85d22ac083638bd.jpg

Served with Cucumber Relish, a quick pickled cucumber/shallot/chile condiment from her book, Simple Thai Cooking, that I picked up on one of the recent Kindle $1.99 bargains.  

Leela says Thai's don't use utensils for satay.  I did but still have yellow fingertips from all the turmeric in the shrimp marinade/grilling sauce.

 

This version of peanut sauce calls for peanut butter (she has another in her book that uses roasted peanuts).  I didn't have any peanut butter but my Blendtec & mini-twister jar quickly took care of that and turned a few handfuls of peanuts into peanut butter in a flash.

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