Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Beef Satay – You Should Warn Your Tongue

Beef satay was the very first Thai food I ever tasted, and it was literally love at first bite. Ah, that sweet, spicy, salty, smoky, and slightly funky bite…I remember it like it was yesterday. 

It helps that I ate this yesterday, but still. If you’ve never had satay before, its lightning bolt of flavor can be a bit of a shock to the system. A recipe for the subtle palate, this is not. By the way, I do know that satay was actually invented in Indonesia, but for the purposes of this blog post, we're going with that it's Thai.

This will work on just about any meat, but beef is my favorite. There’s something about beef and these particular spices that just sings. Also, the magic that Asian fish sauce always adds is never more apparent than with beef, especially if that beef destined for the charcoal grill. The same goes for the lemongrass.

If you look around the produce aisle at your town’s best (meaning most expensive) grocery store, you should find some lemongrass stalks. They also sell tubes of pure lemongrass paste online, in case that’s a better option. Some say you can get away with some lime and/or lemon zest and juice, but at least attempt to find some for your old friend, Chef John.

With grilling season still in full swing, you can never have enough new and exciting ways to enjoy beef, and this is certainly at least one of those things. And of course, stay tuned for the peanut dipping sauce recipe next. I hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!

2 lbs beef top sirloin steak, sliced thin across grain, about 1/8-inch thick
Satay Marinade:
1 tbsp grated ginger
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp minced onion
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 rounded tbsp minced lemongrass

View the complete recipe


kanachi93 said...

Oh God this makes me drooling!!! I'm from Vietnam and we make this all the time, however we do keep some of that fat. When the fat burns you'll hear that awesome sizzling sound :)

Joe Shramovich said...

Great recipe, can't wait for the peanut sauce recipe as that can go good with a lot of different foods. Keep up the great work Chef John! You have my favorite recipe/cooking channel on Youtube. Thanks, Joe

Drew Olson said...

Hah... yeah, I was totally expecting the second 'Around the outside' there. Psyche is right.

cookinmom said...

Man, watch those fingers! :)

cdcphoenix said...

When you do find lemon grass, if it's really fresh, buy several pieces and plant a couple. Take them home and barely trim off the dry end, and put the stalk in some water. When you see the tiny roots start to emerge around the edge, stick it into the ground or a pot. I have a couple of large, gorgeous, flavorful lemon grass plants I started this way. They are super easy to grow, and in this area, SF east bay, are evergreen.
I'm going to make your satay this weekend, Chef. My mouth is already watering.
Thanks for the recipe. I'm hoping you post your peanut sauce recipe by then. :)

eve+line said...

Satay is actually Indonesian in origin. I'm sure there is a Thai version with a different name but when you say "satay" or "sate" people will associate it with Indonesia / Malaysia rather than Thailand.

eve+line said...

And it's usual to include some of the fatty bits between the meat pieces. If you're ordering satay, the satay man will basically smother it with oil as he grills it over the charcoal. Very fattening :)

edward said...

When you turned those skewers, did you give them a "wiggle", or a shayka shayka?

Chef John said...

Eve, Yes, that's why I mentioned that in the post. ;)

PhillyBear said...

Hi chef. this looks awesome. do you think this might work under the broiler or in the oven or something? for us apartment dwellers with no place for a grill? i know it would never taste the same, but i'd like to try it! suggestions, other than moving!

Chef John said...

Yes, any heat source will work! Just use a grill pan on high heat!

Toshiko Suisei said...

Dear Chef John, Looks Delish! Looks very similar to my Mongolian Beef recipe, only a few more ingredients. I'll try your recipe this weekend using a chunk of tri-tip popped in the freezer for 30 min to make slicing easier.

I little suggestion regarding ginger if I may please. Look for plump, smooth-skinned rhizomes. If the rhizome is too big, just snap off a portion at a joint. At home wash it off and let it dry, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and store it in a freezer baggie in the freezer. Peeling it is optional; I don't bother. It will keep a long time frozen and you can use a fine grater to grate off what you need for a recipe without even thawing it. There's no difference in the taste between fresh and frozen when the recipe for a cooked dish calls for grated ginger.

Thomas Beck said...

you should try kebab from iran

Chibby said...

Thanks for posting! I made this tonight w/ chicken and it was wonderful.I used a peanut sauce from another site and tweaked both a little(I added siracha to the marinade and sambal to the peanut sauce and used seaseme oil instead of vegetable)Very,very good :)

DannyWatt said...

Hi Chef John, you mentioned that a grill pan on high heat would do it, sorry for asking a noob question. Do we need to put oil the pan?

Also, it's just funny. The things which are cheap in your country is kinda expensive in ours - strawberries, raspberries, creme frache etc.. But the things which are expensive in your country are relatively cheap here - like lemon grass. Just an observation!

beeje11 said...

Chef, what temperature did you cook these to? I couldn't tell from the video, but are they medium rare or is this a more well done type situation?

Chef John said...

I like a nice crust, so I went to about medium-well, but med rare is fine too.

Sofie230 said...

Chef John,

I made this last night. You can easily find lemongrass in an Asian market. BTW - produce at these markets are uber-cheap compared to your local grocery store. 5 limes for a buck!!! WOW!!

Anyhoooo...I marinated the beef for a little over an hour and plopped it on the grill.

I don't think I've ever had a marinade provide so much flavor!!! Seriously!! I think it would be awesome on chicken too.

Thank you for sharing. Now onto the peanut sauce.

Mark Anderson said...

Made this a couple of days ago, just finished eating the left-overs with scrambled eggs...terrific

We marinated for four hours, which was a little too long. Didn't like the texture...but the taste was great.

Kia Dufun said...

Great recipe and everybody loved it, even the picky ones! I don't own a BBQ, so I threw everything in a very hot cast iron pan with a little bit of oil. I did not put lemon grass (or other lemony ingredients to replace lemon grass). It was really tasty. I followed the measurements exactly and I had marinade for double the amount of beefé So next time, my plan is to double the meat to have some leftovers! Delicious and thank you chef John.

Cindy Costello said...


Made this last night and I'm shoving left overs into my mouth for lunch as I type this. Life is good. :o)

I have three humans of the male variety in my home that could easily eat a side of beef...each. So, I doubled the meat, but not the marinade and it seemed to be the perfect ratio.

I could not find the lemon grass so I used lime as recommended. Also could not find the ground coriander, so I bought some curry powder that had coriander in it.

I have been advised that this MUST be a regular meal from now on. LOL Everyone absolutely loved this dinner. (Served it over a bed of rice and a side of green beans).

The peanut sauce.... I couldn't stop eating it. The flavor combinations of this dish are ..... I really have no words.... its that dang good.

Be advised: You might have the 'breath of doom' after eating this, but it is SO worth it.

Doing the 'I'm not worthy' bow Chef John, for bringing so much flavor into my home and pleasing some pretty picky eaters.


Chef John said...

Thank you for sharing!

Jennifer Sweet said...

I made this a few days ago and brought it to a friend's cook-out since we don't have an outdoor grill. It was fantastic! I made the peanut dipping sauce to go with it and also some fresh veggie kebabs. We ended up not grilling all the meat that night so I ended up stir-frying the leftover meat and veggies together tonight for dinner. It was a little too "funky" for me after marinating all this time, but my husband loved it! Thanks for the recipe, Chef John.

Claudia Dogan-Coles said...

Hi Chef John! I've been a long time follower and fan and think you have fantastic videos! I've tried multiple with a lot of success :-) Anyway, I was wondering if you could tell me what kind of grill you have? At one point I thought I saw a WeberQ one, but thought those were only gas. Do you have two--one charcoal and one gas? Thanks so much and I look forward to your next video.

Chef John said...

I only have the charcoal Weber Q, but they don't make them anymore.

V said...

What other cuts of beef do you all recommend?

V said...

What other cuts of beef do you all recommend?

BTW, longtime fan of this blog. Great stuff and entertaining as well! Keep up the great work!

Distracted MD said...

Hi, is it possible to use a substitute for fish sauce? I don't have access to that! Please let me know, I'm excited to try this!

Chef John said...

toss in an anchovy!

Ed H. said...

OMG. If my taste buds could get horny, this would do it. It is like food porn. Awesome looking recipe. Cannot wait to try it.

Ryan Turkin said...

I just, as a 16 year old, made this for my mom and dad. They loved it and so did I. They have lemon grass at Whole Foods also.