What’s That, You Satay?: Pork Satay and Gado-Gado, or, Vegetables with Peanut Sauce

Did you know that Satay was Indonesian? I didn’t either, but lo and behold it is. That meat-on-a-stick that you can find at any generic Asian eatery actually has its origins in Java, Indonesia and its popularity has spread to most Southeast Asian nations.  The variations are as endless as the spices found in the Spice Islands…too many to count.  The chosen meat: chicken, beef, pork or lamb is spiced and cooked on skewers over an open flame.

Well, it’s August. I suppose it’s about time I bust out the grill.  I have nothing but laziness to blame for my lack of grilling thus far this summer… shame on me, yes.

I ended up using pork for my satay because that’s what I had on hand, but this marinade would be scrumptious whatever protein you fancy.

Adapted from IndoChef


About 1 ½ pounds meat

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

2 TB soy sauce

1 tsp coriander, ground

1 tsp lemon grass, crushed

1 tsp hot chili paste

2 TB water

Limes, for serving

Bamboo skewers, soaked in water at least 30 minutes to prevent them from burning


1.   Dice the meat into 1 inch cubes and put in a Ziploc bag or container that would allow for a thorough coating of marinade.

2.  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and make into a smooth paste. Pour into the meat bag and let sit at least two hours.

3.  Thread the meat onto the skewers.

4.  Fire up the grill to high.  Cook the skewers until the meat is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side, more or less depending on how large or small your meat pieces are cut.


5.  Sprinkle lime juice to taste. Serve with peanut dipping sauce.


Wait, peanut sauce? Did I miss that?

Nope, but that brings me into the next dish, and the peanut sauce that does double duty for both.

Gado Gado.

Gado Gado is essentially boiled vegetables with a peanut sauce. The vegetables themselves are really nothing special, so the sauce is what makes this dish shine.  You can use whatever vegetables you like, but I went with what seemed to be the most traditional.

Recipe adapted from The Global Gourmet


1-2 cups cabbage (I used bok choy)

2 cups green beans

1 cup cauliflower florets

1 cup mung bean sprouts

1 sweet potato (which I grilled when I was making the satay)

1 onion (which I also just added to the grill because I really just love grilled onions)

1-2 hard boiled eggs (which I forgot to make…)


1.  Cook the veggies however you choose. If you’re going with tradition, boil the veggies separately in slightly salted water, about 3-4 minutes, less for the bean sprouts.

2.  Ready them for the sauce…

For the peanut sauce (makes about 1 ½ cups sauce)

2 -4 TB vegetable or coconut oil

1 1/3 cup raw peanuts

2 cloves garlic, chopped

4 shallots, chopped

A thin slice of shrimp paste (optional)**

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ tsp chili powder

1 TB brown sugar

1 TB soy sauce

2 cups water

1 lemon, juiced

**I didn’t use shrimp paste in mine. I was just about to get started when Mama Buddha called and, after I explained what I was about to do, she advised me not to cook shrimp paste in the house, especially not in a kitchen that lacks a hood fan. She said that if I wanted to cook it, to do it on the grill outside. That was a mistake she only made once.  Since I didn’t want to drag this outside to the grill, I merely omitted the shrimp paste**


1.  Stir fry the peanuts about 4 minutes in the oil in a sauce pan deep enough to hold 2 cups of water and then some. Remove and set aside to cool.  Once cool, grind the nuts.

2.  Crush the garlic, shallots and shrimp paste in a mortar with a little salt and fry in the peanut oil for about one minute. Add the chili powder, sugar, soy sauce and water.  Bring this to a boil.

3.  Add the ground peanuts. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce becomes thick, about 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice, and season as needed.

That’s the sauce. It’s so good I may or may not have just eaten out of the tub it with a spoon by itself.

gado gado




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