Satay is a popular dish all over southeast Asia. People prepare it differently, depending on the region. The best definition of satay is probably: “seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce”. The Indonesian version of pork satay, is sate babi. That is also the dish, I based this recipe on.
In the past, Indonesia was a Dutch colony. While today this is of course no longer the case, the Dutch still love Indonesian food. This love has resulted in a lot of Indo-Dutch dishes. Satay with peanut sauce is possibly the most common of these. You can buy this dish just about everywhere. The quality however, tends to vary a lot. Especially the store-bought versions can be very disappointing. So why not make your own?
For making pork satay, I tend to use pork shoulder. Pork shoulder has a lot of fat. Perhaps not great for the health-conscious, but great for grilling. Because the fat will stop your satay from becoming too dry.
Satay is always served with a sauce. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a peanut sauce, but it is by far the most common choice. This is why peanut sauce sometimes goes by the name of satay sauce.
The main ingredient of the peanut sauce is peanut butter. Not all peanut butter is created equally however. Cheap peanut butters often contain extra sugar, salt and oil. So when you choose peanut butter, go for the one with the highest percentage of peanuts. After all, you’re making peanut sauce. Not sugar-salt-palm oil sauce. I made this recipe with a number of different brands of peanut butter. The brand that only contained peanuts, definitely gave me the best results.
Another important part of this recipe is shrimp paste or trassi. This is an Asian ingredient, that has a salty shrimp taste. You might think this is a strange ingredient to add to a peanut sauce. However, because you only add a little bit, it just adds depth to the flavour. It’s the kind of ingredient that you don’t really notice, until that one time you forget to add it.
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