Succulent Thai Pork Satay with Sweet and Sour Cucumber Relish

January 14, 2015

Though originally from Indonesia, the method of cooking meat on sticks has spread throughout Asia and is ubiquitous in Thailand. The popular street food is now a common item found on many restaurant and bar menus in the West, its spicy sweet peanut sauce makes this dish a palate-pleaser to many. Satay is typically (and ideally) cooked over charcoal where the aromatic smoke imparts a distinctive flavor on the meat, though broiling is also an option. The trick is to get the coals (or oven) as hot as possible in order to cook the meat fast and furiously - about 5 minutes total is all you need. Serve this tasty dish as an appetizer or light meal along with a sweet and sour cucumber salad.

Thai Pork Satay (Muu Satay)
Recipes adapted from The Original Thai Cookbook 

1 pound pork tenderloin, thinly sliced and cut into long strips

For the marinade:
2 cloves garlic, smashed into a paste
1/2 white or yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon tamarind pulp, dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

For the satay sauce:
8 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
1-2 red chile peppers (such as Bird’s Eye), seeded and finely diced or 1 teaspoon red chile powder
1 stalk lemongrass, tender white parts only, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet dark soy sauce

Place the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.

Thread the pork strips like a ribbon onto wooden skewers (1 strip of meat per 6-inch skewer or 3-4 strips per 12-inch skewer). Place skewers in a large, shallow dish and cover with the marinade. Let stand for one hour, rotating the sticks occasionally.

If grilling over charcoal, light the coal and get them to a temperature where they create a white, chalky film. If using the broiler in your oven, turn it on and let it come to full heat for at least 10 minutes before you start to grill. The satay should be grilled or broiled near high heat.

In a saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and pour into small bowls for accompaniment.

Remove the satay from the marinade and cook quickly, rotating sides, about 5 minutes total.

Serve with the satay sauce and sweet and sour cucumber relish (recipe below).

Sweet and Sour Cucumber Relish (Taeng Kwa Brio Wan)
Makes 6-8 servings

2 large cucumbers, peeled and halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water
5 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place cucumber, onion and chili flakes in a bowl.

In a small saucepan over low heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar and salt.

Pour mixture over vegetables, stir and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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