Pork Satay with Real Peanut Sauce

dsc_1590RECIPE #358, DAY #537


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Muu Sateh/Pork Satay” and “Naam Jim Sateh/Peanut Sauce” from Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok

TIMING: 1 hour

DIFFICULTY: Not very easy, really

TOOLS: Grill of some sort (charcoal being best), blender, small food processor, pans, spice grinder, and–ideally–a large mortar and pestle

COOK TYPE: Stovetop and grill

HEALTH: This is a nice, healthy appetizer or snack, really, as long as no one is allergic to peanuts. Lean protein, antioxidants galore, more protein…

dsc_1591EXPERIENCE: I have a satay recipe that I use, especially when we go camping. Even though it is delicious, the peanut sauce is a lot on the sweet side and I was never sure how authentic it was. For Thai night at supper club, I wanted to try a more authentic version, so turned to the Pok Pok cookbook on my shelf.

It was (really, really) involved, as were many of the recipes in the cookbook. My old satay definitely came together easier and–to be honest–I like the old one better. However, this was snarfed down by everyone before the meal began (as were the spring rolls that I ended up buying pre-made only because I could not find the wrappers anywhere). So if you want to try cooking truly Thai, do this. If not, go with the old, easy recipe HERE.

dsc_1589NOTES: You can also do this with chicken, like with cutlets or, even better, thigh meat.

You are supposed to make the paste in a large mortar and pestle. I do not have one of those, so I used a small food processor. Therefore, my consistency was not perfect.

For this recipe, you need many things that are not in your average American grocery store and need to be purchased at an Asian grocer or online, such as:

  • tamarind paste
  • galangal (a root which resembles ginger)
  • lemongrass (as in the long, fresh stalk)
  • turmeric root
  • coconut cream
  • palm sugar


  1. In a small sauce pan, bring 1 cup water to a boil with 1 ounce tamarind paste. Remove from heat, cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Mash up the tamarind paste and then strain it. Set aside the tamarind water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast 1 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds with 1 pinch cumin seeds, stirring, until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove to spice grinder and grind coarsely.
  3. In a blender, combine the ground spice with 1 teaspoon salt, 2 thin-sliced stalks lemongrass, 2 inches diced galangal, 1 inch diced turmeric, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, and 1 cup coconut milk. Puree until smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large zipper-top bag. Add to it 2 pounds pork loin cut into 3 inch-by-1 inch-by-1/4 inch approximate rectangles. Move to the fridge while you make the sauce.
  5. In a spice grinder, grind 1 dried red Thai chili into a powder.
  6. In a small food processor, combine the ground chili, 3 inches finely chopped lemongrass, 1/4 inch slice minced galangal, 1/4 inch slice minced turmeric root, 1 large clove garlic, and 1 halved shallot. Puree until you have an almost smooth paste. Move to a bowl and clean out the processor.
  7. In the food processor, grind 1/4 cup unsalted roasted peanuts into a chunky paste.  Set aside.
  8. In a small sauce pan, bring 1/3 cup coconut cream to a boil over high heat. Stirring continuously for several minutes, you want the cream to reduce and separate.
  9. Decrease heat to medium-low and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the shallot paste. Stir 3 minutes then add 1 ounce palm sugar and stir until melted. Add 1/3 cup coconut milk and adjust heat to simmer. Add peanuts and 2 tablespoons of the tamarind water. Cook 5 minutes until thickened and intensified. Taste for salt. Set dip aside.
  10. Prepare your grill for medium-high to high heat. Remove pork from marinade and skewer each rectangle onto a skewer by threading it 3 times. Salt both sides. Grill, flipping once, about 5 minutes, until cooked through and a little charred.


Serve the skewers with the sauce and cucumbers.

*Recipe changed from the original.


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