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Indonesian Beef Satay

Scott Phillips

Servings: 8 as an appetizer or 4 as a main course

Satay is a street-food favorite for a reason: the meat is tender as butter and beautifully charred, and the sauce is rich and spicy. This version substitutes cashews for the traditional peanuts, giving the sauce an ultra-creamy texture and flavor. Satay is traditionally served as a snack or appetizer, but you can make it a meal, if you like.


For the steak

  • 1-1/2 lb. rump or sirloin steak
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated lime zest
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. tamari
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

For the cashew sauce

  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped shallot (1 large)
  • 1 medium lemongrass stalk (bottom 5 inches only), tough outer layers removed and stalk thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 small fresh red Thai chile, stemmed
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin coconut or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup well-shaken coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs. tamari
  • 1-1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

For grilling and serving

  • 32 6-inch skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes if wooden)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, as needed
  • 2 Tbs. melted coconut oil or canola oil
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 260
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 140
  • Fat (g): 16
  • Saturated Fat (g): 9
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 45
  • Sodium (mg): 1020
  • Carbohydrates (g): 10
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 19


Marinate the steak

  • Trim the steak, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 15 minutes. Slice across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick pieces about 1 inch wide and 4 to 5 inches long.
  • In a large bowl, combine the lime zest and juice, tamari, fish sauce, ginger, honey, garlic, coriander, and cumin; add the steak and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Make the cashew sauce

  • Pulse the cashews in a food processor until finely ground; transfer to a small bowl. Pulse the shallot, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and chile until finely chopped.
  • Heat the coconut oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot mixture and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the ground cashews, coconut milk, tamari, honey, fish sauce, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a blender. Add the lime juice and salt; blend until smooth. (You can refrigerate the sauce in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)

Grill the satay

  • Prepare a medium-high (400°F to 475°F) gas or charcoal grill fire for direct grilling.
  • Thread a slice of the marinated steak onto each skewer like a ribbon, stretching it out a bit but not until flat. Season with salt and pepper. Oil the grill grate. Grill the satay in batches, turning often and basting once or twice with coconut oil until the surface is slightly charred but the center is still slightly pink, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a platter, tent with foil, and keep warm while grilling the remaining skewers. Stir half of the cilantro into the sauce, and sprinkle the satay with the remaining. Serve with the lime wedges and the sauce.


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