Do you feel a frisson of anticipation whenever a plate of mouth-watering satay is placed before you? How much do you know about this all-time Asian favourite? Let’s find out!
Origins of Satay
Wherever you go in Southeast Asia, different cultures claim satay as their own. This finger-licking delicacy was derived from kebab. History shows sate, as it’s spelled in Indonesia, originated in Java, where it was introduced by Muslim traders. Nowadays, this satisfying snack is a staple in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei and many parts of the world.
Many people confuse satay with the spicy peanut sauce that accompanies the meat. The meat is the satay. Different cultures have infused the delicacy with local flavours, making it one of the most diverse culinary delights. Common variations include the Satay Kambing, Satay Madura, Sate Padang, Sate Buntel, and Sate Babi.
How to Make Satay
Satay is made from marinated meat skewered on bamboo cuttings, coconut leaf strands, lemongrass shoots or whatever is common to a region. The meat is cooked to perfection on a charcoal grill to produce succulent, juicy, spicy strands of meat with a smoky taste and crunchy edges. Satay can be made with mutton, goat, beef, pork, chicken, pork, fish, offal, tofu, seafood, and even snake meat. The meat is sliced or minced and then marinated for hours in a paste that can include turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, coriander or soy, depending on the variation being made. It’s then placed on bamboo sticks or your skewer of choice. Traditionally, a long, thin barbecue grill is ideal for preparing this tasty food. You’ll find street vendors fanning their coal grills to ignite sparks and generate the unique flavour that keeps on drawing residents and visitors alike to their stalls.
Satay can be eaten as a standalone dish or accompanied with a peanut, chili or soy sauce or gravy. You can also serve the dish with eschalot, cucumber, onions or rice cakes, depending on the region. In places like Malaysia and the Philippines, satay is eaten as a full meal accompanied by rice or soup. While you can cook this snack at home, the best place to enjoy satay is on the street and in restaurants. That is where the true beauty and art of satay comes alive.
Where to Eat Satay in Singapore
What do you love about satay? We sure love its excellent taste!