1 English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled and
cut into irregular 1/4 inch (6mm) wedges
1 red (Spanish) onion, cut into 1/4 inch
bamboo skewers in water to cover for 30 minutes.
To make the
satay, in a bowl, stir together the palm or brown sugar, coriander,
cumin, ginger, garlic, turmeric and salt. Divide the mixture equally
between 2 bowls. Add the chicken to one bowl and the lamb to the other;
mix to coat the meat well. Thread 3 or 4 pieces of chicken onto the
pointed end of each bamboo skewer. They can touch but should not press
against each other. Repeat with the lamb. Cover and refrigerate for a
few hours or preferably overnight.
To make the
peanut sauce, in a blender or food processor, combine the drained chiles,
ginger, galangal, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and shrimp paste.
Process to form a very smooth spice paste (rempah). If needed, add a few
tablespoons of water to facilitate the blending. Add the ground
coriander, cumin, turmeric, and fennel and process until well mixed.
In a saucepan
over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the spice paste and fry,
stirring continuously, until a thick, fragrant, emulsified mixture
forms, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue
frying, stirring occasionally, until oil beads appear on the surface,
about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the tamarind water, peanuts, palm or
brown sugar, salt and water, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently
for 45 minutes. The sauce is done when beads of oil dot the surface and
it is the consistency of thick cream. (The sauce can be made up to 3
days in advance, covered and refrigerated, then reheated).
fire in a charcoal grill. To make the basting oil, in a bowl, stir
together the coconut cream, vegetable oil, and brown sugar.
coals are white and glowing, place the skewers on the grill rack about 2
inches (5 cm) above the coals. Brush the meats with the basting oil and
grill, turning once, to brown both sides and cook the meats through,
about 2 minutes on each side.
reheat the peanut sauce over medium-low heat and pour into a serving
bowl. Arrange the skewers on a platter and place the lontong cubes (if
using), cucumber, and onion alongside. Serve at once with the peanut
Centuries ago in Java, skewers of
bite-sized meats marinated with spices were cooked over charcoal fires.
An adaptation of the Arab trader's kabob, satay spread across the more
than thirteen thousand islands that the Indonesian archipelago
comprises, with nearly every island cooking up its own distinctive
recipe. The best satay is inevitably prepared by the numerous street
vendors who cut and weave a variety of meats onto sticks and set them
over a well-seasoned grill. The spiced morsels are eaten dunked into a
sauce made of spices, chiles, kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), and often
peanuts. Inland, chicken, beef and goat meat are used and enjoyed by the
predominately Muslim population.
Near the coast, fresh seafood turns up on
sticks. Muslims are prohibited from eating pork, but among the Chinese
population and on the island of Bali, which is primarily Hindu and
Christian, pork satay is common. The Balinese also enjoy chunks of
grilled duck, although their specialty is satay penyu, made with
marinated cubed turtle meat.
The neighboring countries of Malaysia,
Singapore and Thailand caught on to the satay craze, and each added its
own culinary magic. In Singapore, the Satay Club, an open-air hawker
center offering Malay-style satay, is a popular retreat with locals.
Malay cooks use a more complex blend of seasonings, including galangal,
dried shrimp paste, and such Indian spices as cumin, coriander, and
turmeric, to make their kuah kacang, or "peanut sauce". The Thais take
the concept further by adding just the right amount of red curry paste
and fish sauce and marrying it all together with coconut milk.
Malay cooks judge the quality of a peanut
or other sauce by the color of the oil that floats on the surface. It
should have the characteristic tint of the color extracted from the
sauce ingredients. Without color, the sauce will taste raw and harsh.
Some peoples find the amount of oil used excessive. If you are among
them, add the prescribed amount and then spoon off the excess oil after
the sauce is cooked.