Singapore Pork Saté Recipe
Saté is enjoyed throughout Southeast Asia. Singapore’s version features a fragrant cumin-turmeric rub and a soulful garlicky peanut sauce.
Recipe from Secrets to Better BBQ in the May 2017 issue of TOH magazine
SERVES 4 AS AN APPETIZER, 2 TO 3 AS A LIGHT MAIN COURSE
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, loin, or tenderloin (make sure there’s some fat on it), cut into ½-inch cubes
1 ½ tablespoons Singapore Saté Rub
4 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small sweet onion, peeled
Quick Peanut Dipping Sauce
Thai Cucumber Relish
YOU’LL ALSO NEED
6- to 8-inch bamboo skewers soaked in water for 30 minutes, then drained
1. Place the pork in a medium bowl, and stir in the Singapore Saté Rub, coating the meat cubes on all sides with the spices. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the oil to coat. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or as long as 6.
2. Cut the onion in half widthwise. Cut each half in quarters, and break each quarter into individual segments.
3. Set up a grill for direct grilling, and preheat it to high. Use 1⁄2 tablespoon of the oil to brush and oil the grill grate.
4. Skewer the pork cubes on 6-inch bamboo skewers, placing a piece of onion between the cubes. Leave half the skewer without meat so you have a handle for holding the saté.
5. Arrange the satés on the grate, sliding a sheet of aluminum foil folded in thirds under the exposed part of the skewers to keep them from burning. Grill, basting with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, until the pork is sizzling, browned, and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side, 4 to 8 minutes in all. Serve with the Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Relish on the side.
SINGAPORE SATÉ RUB
MAKES A GENEROUS 1⁄2 CUP
3 tablespoons light-brown sugar (or dark, if that’s all you have on hand)
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon coarse kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the sugar, coriander, cumin, turmeric, salt, and pepper in a bowl; mix well, breaking up any lumps in the sugar with your fingertips. Transfer any extra to a jar, cover, and store away from heat and light; the rub will keep for several weeks.
QUICK PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE
MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS, ENOUGH TO SERVE 6 TO 8
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and minced
1 to 3 Thai chiles or jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced (for a spicier sauce, leave the seeds in)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup chunky peanut butter
½ cup coconut milk, or chicken or vegetable broth (more as needed)
3 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon light-brown sugar
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sprigs of fresh cilantro, for garnish
Place the tomato, garlic, scallions, chiles, and chopped cilantro in a food processor; process to a fine paste. Add the peanut butter, coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and black pepper; process to obtain a smooth sauce. Correct the seasoning, adding more fish sauce, lime juice, or brown sugar to taste. The sauce should be salty, tart, and sweet. It should also be thick but pourable; if too thick, add a little more coconut milk. Transfer to a bowl or ramekins, and use right away, garnished with cilantro sprigs.
THAI CUCUMBER RELISH
MAKES 2 CUPS, ENOUGH TO SERVE 4
1⁄3 cup cold water
1⁄3 cup distilled white vinegar
1⁄3 cup sugar
Generous ½ teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
1 peeled garlic clove, lightly flattened with the side of a cleaver
2 small or 1 large cucumber
1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 hot red chile pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1. Prepare the dressing. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and garlic in a saucepan over high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl; let cool to room temperature. Discard the garlic.
2. Peel the cucumber with a vegetable peeler, removing the skin in lengthwise strips about 1⁄8 inch apart; this will give you green stripes when you slice the cucumber. Cut the cucumber lengthwise in quarters, then crosswise into 1⁄4-inch slices. Add the cucumber to the cooled dressing. Add the shallot, chile, and cilantro; toss to mix. Just before serving, sprinkle the relish with peanuts. You can serve the relish right away, but it will taste better if you let the flavors blend for 1 hour. Serve it the same day you make it.