Food for Thought: This is the way to satay | KNKX

Food for Thought: This is the way to satay

Jun 24, 2020

Originally aired July 25, 2018.

This is not a weeknight recipe.  

Both Nancy Leson's and my emails crossed in the cybersphere.  "Let's make this!"  It was J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's recipe for Balinese Pork Saté and it was pretty complicated.  In fact, three recipes in one: the spice blend for the pork marinade, the sweet soy glaze for grilling, and the hand-pounded (more on that down-blog) peanuts for the sauce.

First, here's Kenji's disquisition on satay best practices.  And here's his recipe.

Quibbles & Tweaks

Not a Victorian haberdasher, just business as usual for Leson and me.  It took me about three hours to get all 20 ingredients ready to go.  Nancy claims she did it in two hours.  But only because she took shortcuts. 

She says, "Sometimes recipes call for you to do something ridiculous like pounding everything in a mortar."  Of course she's wrong about that, but she'll never admit it.  You get much better flavor extraction by pounding in a mortar than in a food processor.  Nance compromised by starting in the mortar and finishing in the mini-processor.  

I pounded all the way because, well, I'm just that kind of guy.  

You just can't get this result with a processor.
Credit Stein / KNKX

Kenji says to fan the coals with a big piece of cardboard.  This prevents flare-ups and keeps the coals hotter.  When my fedora caught fire I just switched to a plastic cafeteria tray.  As an alternative, he suggests using the exhaust from a shop vac.  When Nancy said there was no way she was using her "filthy shop vac anywhere near food," I suggested a hairdryer.

To skewer:  I use flat metal ones instead of wood.  Not only won't they char, but more importantly they won't let the food spin when you turn them over.  For a clever and safer method of putting the meat onto those skewers do as Kenji suggests in part 2 of his recipe.

Easy way or hard way, we both loved the results.  Nance served hers with peanut sauce, a little rice and husband Mac's slaw.  

Credit Nancy Leson / KNKX

I served mine with Andrea Nguyen's spicy Viet cabbage slaw.

We agree this was a lot of work, but well worth it. You could even have it for a Monday night dinner if you get everything  ready to go on Sunday.

This Week's Quote

I can't decide if Mark Z is serious or just goofing here, but this one gave my eye rolling muscles a great workout.

"I updated my grilling app iGrill, today and it now has Facebook integration that lets you see what other people are grilling right now around the world .  Awesome."  – Mark Zuckerberg