Friday, August 2, 2019

Penang Pork Satay – Maybe Just Like the One at the “Penang Pork Satay”

I’m not exactly sure how much pork satay they eat in Penang, or if they flavor it like I do here, but I’m fairly confident that if I handed one of these skewers to your average pork-loving Malaysian, they would enjoy it. By the way, I did a search, and there’s actually a restaurant in Penang called, “Penang Pork Satay.” It doesn’t get great reviews, but if you’ve happened to try it, please let me know how this compares.

Like I said in the video, a satay marinade usually gets a splash of coconut milk, but I think it’s perfectly fine without. Besides adding a little sweetness, it also apparently helps tenderize the meat, but we have both those things covered here, with the sugar, ginger, and turmeric. Of course, by opening a can, you’ll force yourself to make curry with the rest, so either way is a win.

As far as the grilling time goes, we simply want to cook it through, and then stop, which is going to happen in a relatively short amount of time. That’s what I like a fairly large size chuck of pork, so we have enough time to get that beautifully brown, crusty exterior. If you don’t have, or can’t use a grill, you should definitely make this anyway. It would work just about the same under a broiler set on high, or roasted in a 500-degree oven. Regardless of how you cook it, or whether you tweak the ingredients, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

2 1/2 to 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
1 tablespoon kosher salt

For the marinade:
2 to 3 inch piece of fresh turmeric root, peeled, sliced or 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2-inch piece ginger root, sliced
1 large or 2 small shallots
8 to 10 garlic cloves
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons ancho or other ground chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon chipotle
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems

- Mix and marinate for 4 to 18 hours, then grill until cooked through.


lilbutcher said...

What can I replace the Tamarind paste with? I find it hard to find.

lilbutcher said...

what to replace the tamarind paste with? I can't seem to find it anywhere.

Chris said...

Hi! I was born in Penang and still try to make it back for a visit every couple of years. You should definitely take a trip there, it is a food haven! And cheap to boot! You could survive nicely on $10 a day!
Back to the satay....most of the time it is chicken or beef or lamb, Malaysia being a Muslim country. Yes, there is pork satay, made by Chinese non- Muslim hawkers. When we were growing up, I think it was sold by the local Hainanese ( Google Hainan chicken rice...the ultimate comfort food!), and not only did they use pork meat, there was satay of pork intestines!
I believe lemongrass might also be a key ingredient as it grows like a weed there.
A neat way to baste the satay is to crush the base of a stalk of lemongrass and use like a brush, dipping into the marinade with some coconut milk or coconut oil for that special taste.

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John. Do you have de recipe of the side sauce beside the pork? I guess it's a peanut sauce? And what about the vegetables?
Thank you

Unknown said...

I Love your dishes! I tell everyone I know about you. No other cook out there like you. I've been looking for a cook that would do some authentic African dishes and I would love to see your expertise seasoned all over this. Are you up for the request? Please please please do it!!!!

Unknown said...

I Love your dishes! I tell everyone I know about you. There is no other cook out there like you. Over the years I've been looking for a cook that would do some authentic African dishes and I would love to see your expertise seasoned over some African dishes....Are you up for the request? Please please please do it🤗
I'm excited!!!!!!!

Wzorin said...

Hi everyone...for easy and great peanut šaty sázce recipe hrad oběť to

Tried and tested!

Unknown said...

I just discovered this book by Chef John,
Bought it immediately.
I see allrecipe published an ebook by chef john(only 26 recipes), but i want a hard copy!

Wurstmensch said...

I tried your recipe today and it works absolutely fine with chicken, too. Here's a pic of the result:

Naplesdig said...

Can you use pork loin instead of pork shoulder?

J. Francis Lehman said...

People asking about Tamarind paste: According to Whole Foods website they have it. Also, Amazon has it. Better price at Whole Foods, but hey.

Also, found a site with alternatives: www -dot-cuisinevault -dot- com/tamarind-paste-substitute/

Another great looking recipe, Chef John. This is on the Must Try list.

Bd said...

Peanut sauce recipe:

As far as I can tell, chef John hadn't posted a cucumber salad recipe that looks like the one in today's video. I think this is the only one he's posted before (which DEOS sound like it would go really well with this dish.

Vinny G said...

Hi Chef John, I made this last night, and the first thing I'll say is, the marinade is so good I could have just drank it and I would have been satisfied! A little too spicy for my kids, but holy cow this is soooo good! Easy to make too! Grilled on medium high (about 600-800 degrees for most of the cooking), did 9 min on the first side, maybe only 6 min on the second side and it was perfect. So juicy and amazing! Thank you for this recipe. I don't know if they make this in Penang, but I know they should

V.Smith said...

Can't find tamarind anywhere so I replaced it with red curry paste. The curry just took the pork to another level. When I took it off the grill the pork was chared just right, moist and juicy. Then a disaster happen. I put it in the over not realizing the oven was on and burnt the dish to a crisp. Gonna have to try this again.

Mary said...

Please Chef John, post the recipe for the peanut dipping sauce, I’d appreciate it very much

Dirtyernie said...

Thus was great!! Can’t believe how tender the shoulder was when only having it on the grill for a few minutes!!

Dirtyernie said...

Can’t believe how tender this was after a quick sear on the grill!

Unknown said...

Made this without tamarind paste. Delicious. Right amount of heat and I'm timid about spiciness. This recipe will go into my 'will make again' category. Thanks Chef John!

David said...

Tamarind paste is available on Amazon:

Unknown said...

@lilbutcher if you can order the concentrate it really is worth tracking down. Otherwise, equal parts lime juice and brown sugar is often cited as a decent approximation of the tart/sweeet character.

Jared Parmenter said...

@lilbutcher and anyone else unable to find tamarind paste, there really isn't any substitute for tamarind, it's an incredibly unique flavor. You might say lime juice + sugar + vinegar, but Chef John already has those anyways.

But there is another option: I couldn't find paste either so I used Tamarind juice ("Tamarind nectar"). This is actually a very common beverage, and you should be able to find it in the juice or Mexican/Ethnic aisles of most grocery stores. Google for the Jumex brand, its easy to spot even in a crowded aisle with it's bright blue can.

I'm, sure it wasn't as intense as tamarind paste would have been, but it still ended up tasting great, and even though it's obviously subtle, I think we could notice the tamarind. You might even boil it a bit to reduce the flavor, although it is sweet already.

Even just buy a can to see what it tastes like! It's... unique.

Great recipe!

Cooking Ventures said...

"...but if you do see a large, solid piece, you can go ahead and whack it off..." lol!

Specs said...


have a question regarding the "ancho or other ground chili powder" ingredient.

Does this refer to a pure, ground, ancho chili pepper or is it really "chili powder" consisting of a blend of ground chili pepper together with other spices, typically, cumin, oregano and others?

Really looking forward to making this.

thanks, greg

Steve Kennedy said...

This was great. I also wasn't able to find tamarind paste quickly, so I subbed a tsp of lime juice and another tsp of brown sugar.

Dianne said...

Agreed! White egg!!! 😆

Don Gringo said...

I made this last week and tbh it was just ok and probably a one and done. Not even CJ can hit homers all the time!

Maarten said...

My local Indonesian take-out makes a fantastic sate kambing (Goat in a Soy sauce). If you ever get the chance to eat a good one, go for it.