Thursday, January 14, 2010

Smokey Pork Satay - Daring Cooks January 2010

I don't wanna rub it in, but it's January and I GRILLED Pork Satay OUTSIDE, on the patio, in short sleeves. It's one of the big reasons I love living in California. I grew up in North Carolina and I miss the varied and equal climates; 4 distinctive seasons, but I do NOT miss cold weather. Another reason I love living here is the opportunity to meet, experience and learn about so many different cultures; most of the time right next door. Thai food has become one of my favorites, so when this month's DARING COOKS CHALLENGE was Pork Satay it was...like...awesome dude.

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

Even Cuppy was clear that this recipe is not exactly authentic Thai or Indonesian, but a simple and pretty terrific English version of a great Thai dish. Satay is also made with Chicken, Beef, Lamb, Tofu and in some regions, even Turtle. Credit for its origin is often given to the Javanese street-vendors. All over Southeast Asia there are still street vendors selling Satays along with the highest price restaurants. I enjoyed making and serving these Thai-inspired skewers, but certainly agree that it's a "soft" version of a classic.



A couple things this recipe does have in common with authentic Malaysian, and Indonesian recipes are: Using Tumeric, for the color and earthy base, and marinating for deep flavor and tenderness.

I used Pork Tenderloin for mine (just because I already had it), but much cheaper and tougher cuts can be used since the marinade will help break down muscle fibers and make the meat melt-in-your-mouth tender.





I marinaded the pork slices in a large zip-lock bag, (along with the scraps that I used later for a quick Wok-lunch) in a bowl held in the refrigerator overnight.









I made the Peanut Sauce a day early, then reheated it with a little Coconut Milk and served it on the plate in a Cucumber bowl cut from the end of the cucumber along with some Rice Vinegar- marinated Cucumber slices.
I threaded the marinated pork strips onto wooden skewers (that had soaked in water for about 30 minutes to reduce having them burn.) Then, I grilled the Pork Satay over Med/High heat for about 5 minutes on each side, glazing with marinate once when I turned them.
This was a pretty simple process (especially as Daring Cook's Challenges go.) You can broil these in the oven, too, and serve with flavorful rice and a light salad; a healthy, easy, light dinner and kids always think the skewers are fun and different. Thanks, Cuppy!

Husband said, "These are smokey, in a great way."

Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce

Satay Marinade

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 T ginger root, chopped (optional) (2 cm cubed)
2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp ground coriander (5 mls)
1 tsp ground cumin (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (2-2.5 mls)
2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (30 mls)
1 pound of pork (loin or shoulder cuts) (16 oz or 450g)

Feeling the need to make it more Thai? Try adding a dragon chili, an extra tablespoon of ginger root, and 1 tablespoon (0.5 oz or 15 mls) of fish sauce. (I keep some premature (still green) dragon chili peppers in the freezer for just such an occasion.)

Directions:
1a. Cheater alert: If you have a food processor or blender, dump in everything except the pork and blend until smooth. Lacking a food processor, I prefer to chop my onions, garlic and ginger really fine then mix it all together in a medium to large bowl.
2a. Cut pork into 1 inch strips.
3a. Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.


Faster (cheaper!) marinade:

2 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (1 oz or 30 mls)
2 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
1 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp ginger powder (5 mls)
1 tsp garlic powder (5 mls)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (5 mls)

Directions:
1b. Mix well.
2b. Cut pork into 1 inch thick strips (2-2.5 cm thick), any length.
3b. Cover pork with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziplock bag, seal and chill.

Cooking Directions (continued):

4. If using wooden or bamboo skewers, soak your skewers in warm water for at least 20 minutes before preparing skewers.
5. Gently and slowly slide meat strips onto skewers. Discard leftover marinade.*
6. Broil or grill at 290°C/550° F (or pan fry on medium-high) for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another 8-10 minutes.

* If you’re grilling or broiling, you could definitely brush once with extra marinade when you flip the skewers.

Peanut Sauce

3/4 cup coconut milk (6 oz or 180 mls)
4 Tbsp peanut butter (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground cumin (2.5 mls)
1/2 tsp ground coriander (2.5 mls)
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)

1. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.
2. Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.
3. All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.

Pepper Dip (optional)

4 Tbsp soy sauce (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 tsp brown sugar (5 mls)
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped (keep the seeds for heat)
1 finely chopped green onion (scallion)

Mix well. Serve chilled or room temperature.

Tamarind Dip (optional)

4 Tbsp tamarind paste (helpful link below) (2 oz or 60 mls)
1 Tbsp soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 finely chopped green onion (scallion)
1 tsp brown or white sugar, or to taste (about 5 mls)

Mix well. Serve chilled or room temperature.


Tips for grilling tofu:
http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianbarbecuerecipes/qt/grillingtofu.htm

More on wooden and bamboo skewers:
http://www.ehow.com/how_2189638_use-bamboo-skewers.html

More dips and sauces:
http://www.recipesource.com/ethnic/asia/thai/indexall.html

How to make tamarind paste:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/get_cooking/techniques/092002.shtml

8 comments:

Wic said...

I adore your pictures, the food looks delicious and how could I not love the presentation?
The cucumber cup is unbelievable cute. My kids would love something that this on there plates.

climbhighak said...

Yeah, yeah, so what if it is warm where you are grilling. Callfornia living makes you soft.

Did I write that or just think it? Maybe a little envy bleeding through. Great work on this month's challenge.

Audax said...

Smokey in a good way!!! Love your satay it looks so delicious well done. I love the charred surface on the satay. Bravo on a great challenge.

Rochelle said...

Abosolutly love the cucumber bowl! So cute! You also got lucky with being in California where you can grill without snow getting in the way :)

Jenny said...

Lovely photos, your satay looks great! I'm jelous of you being in California where you can grill in short sleeves - we have like 5 degrees F here. Shudder!
Great job on the challenge!

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and the satays look so delish. Love your pictures!

Cathy @ ShowFoodChef said...

Thanks SO much for the comments, you guys. I've been working on my photography and it means a lot to hear good things back. I'm glad you got my humor about the weather,too. Great comments can really make your day, right? I appreciate your time.

cuppy said...

I love your post for a billion reasons, not least of which is those darling little cucumber cups. ^_^

I'm very happy you found this quick and easy and were able to spend the "extra time" doing creative things for the kiddos. :D