Satay, January Daring Cooks

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.

Actually, we are allowed to use any meat/veggie or meat substitute that you can imagine. Basically the challenge was for meat (or a sub) on a stick that is marinated, and then grilled (or broiled or fried). I have to thank Cuppy for creating such an open challenge that  allows the Daring Cooks to put their own stamp on the challenge. I doubt very many will be making the same recipe. Here is the challenge recipe.

I was turned on by the idea of grilling in mid-January Alaska. Something about firing up the grill that makes summer seem that much closer. It was successful even though I had to shovel my way to the grills TWICE for this challenge.

Yes I have two grills. Sometimes you need charcoal and sometimes gas is just more convenient.

My first attempt was chicken thighs. I only cooked these because I wanted to harvest the chicken skin from them for a chicken skin satay. For the thighs I pulled together Cuppy’s 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)

This was all whipped together in the food processor and then poured over thin sliced chicken thighs for 6 hours. I grilled over propane (“Taste the meat not the heat” Hank Hill) just for a quick test of the marinade and peanut sauce.

The peanut sauce I did as Cuppy suggested except I substituted cashews for peanut butter, used cilantro instead of ground coriander seeds, and added both dry and fresh chiles.

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)

Not much to look at but boy is it tasty. Although I frequent a local Thai place often, I have never ordered their satay. I did notice that the peanut sauce was very similar to a Thai panang curry. That curry is my favorite, bar none.

Now I felt free to experiment. I love that feeling. I started digging in the freezer and pulled out some delicious Elk round steak. This was sliced into thin strips and marinated in the following.

Ponzu, onion, garlic, Thai chiles, fish sauce, honey, rice vinegar, dried red chiles, sesame oil, ginger, and cilantro. All the marinade ingredients were just buzzed up in the food processor and then poured over the Elk.

It turned out amazing. Full of flavor and tenderized by the marinade.   

The elk was very rich in iron and extremely lean. When I sliced it up, it reminded me of liver. Almost purple in color with very little fat. An incredibly high quality product to say the least.

This month’s challenge just kept inspiring more and more ideas. I still had that chicken skin saved and also wanted to try a ground meat version of satay. The chicken skin is what I can only describe as “chicken bacon”. That might sound a little off but it perfectly describes what just came off the grill.

The skin was marinated in a mix of sake, soy, palm sugar, oelek sambal, mirin, and sesame oil.

The more I learned about satay, the more I appreciated the importance of a charcoal or wood fire. So for the last two satays I fired up the Weber. I used a mix of charcoal and hickory chunks for the fire.

During grilling, I pulled the chicken skin skewers off the heat and dipped them into the marinade at least twice. It adds a sweet/salty component that is truly delicous. Lots of Umami. Just an app but I say the perfect crunchy, sweet, salt, fatty compliment to some simple cooked rice.

For my last satay, I went with ground moose. I mixed my locally available game with a traditional Indonesian ground meat recipe. In the food processor went, yellow onion, garlic, ginger, anchovy, scallion, cumin, cardomom, curry powder, cloves, dried chile, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of ground pumpkin seeds, cilantro, flour, and S&P. The pumpkin seeds were a sub for peanuts. I like the result.

This was mixed by hand into one pound of ground moose. It was a loose meat mixture and I ended up adding another 1/4 cup of flour to help the mix bind together.

This sat in the fridge to “marinate”. I also threw together a glaze of tamarind water, soy, palm sugar, and sesame oil. The tamarind water is just boiling water poured over tamarind paste that is then strained.

The meat was formed around skewers and then put onto a hot grill.

Several times during the grilling, brush the tamarind soy glaze over your skewers. It immediately smells wonderful. I realize they aren’t the most appetizing shape but they sure do smell delicious.

Todays lunch looked like this.

I tossed together a quick cucumber and shallot salad with rice vinegar, chile flake, scallion, sugar, and salt. It is so simple yet so delicious and the perfect side for some grilled meat on a stick.

This challenge was right up my alley and that probably explains all the variations. Just something about meat on a stick, cooked over fire that speaks to my cro-magnon brain. Thanks Cuppy for a great challenge.

Be sure to check out all the other Daring Cooks posts.


~ by climbhighak on January 14, 2010.

40 Responses to “Satay, January Daring Cooks”

  1. you are amazing, the pictures are beautiful and the food looks absolutely delicious.
    what a great way to show of your creativity.

  2. OMG! As always with you – I would clear the plate completely!
    Looks delicious – I never ate moose – would love to try it!!!
    I also like the idea of grilling in the middle of winter, with all that snow around me 🙂
    Cheers! Anula.

  3. Robert bravo on your wonderful efforts. I cannot believe you can make chicken skin sound so good “the perfect crunchy, sweet, salt, fatty compliment to some simple cooked rice” well done and your photo series is superb as always. And the elk does look like kangaroo and the moose-balls sound delicious. I will make roo balls like your moose balls next time. And you had to shovel snow only twice to do the challenge (lots of hard work). Again bravo. Cheers from Audax in Australia.

  4. Forgot to mention that I will be making your chicken skin bacon recipe this weekend and I will link it back to this posting. Cheers Audax.

  5. I love all your variations and bravo to you for braving the cold and doing all that grilling! I wimped out and cooked my beef in my panini press, but it was still really good!

  6. I’ve never had elk but I’d love to try it and the chicken skin idea sounds sooo good!

  7. FOOD PORN!!!! I love everything you made. I like that you gave cuppy’s recipe a shot and then experimented other marinades. You’ve got the convincing power!, i’ve not tried elk and just the thought i’d probably not try elk up until you’ve convinced us that it’s good, sure i will give it a try if only i can get those meat here. The chicken skin oh so yummy! I will be blogging my chicharon 2 ways, pork and chicken skin…yum!. I made 2 of cuppy’s dip, i wanted to make the tamarind as well but just didn’t have enough time. As i mentioned i made mine few hours before i have to work. So time was of the essence, time for the grilling and time for the picture taking=;) not enough!

    LOL!!! I knew you’d be grilling them no matter what! Speaking about crazy i guess you’re crazier than me coz i grilled in the garage as opposed to grilling out on the deck=;). Welcome back!=;)

    • Well thank Pia. I saw your grilling photos and was a little concerned that you had grilled in the garage. Be careful, carbon monoxide poisoning is nothing to mess with. Just put on another jacket and warm your hands by the grill.

      • I appreciate the concern, Robert! I actually started bringing the griller outside then decided to bring the griller halfway..half of the griller was a bit inside the garage and isnpite of that, it was still cold! Honestly I don’t think i’ll be doing that again!

  8. Pia, that’s so dangerous! Hahhaa!

    Robert, I went to bed thinking “I’m stopping in Alaska first thing tomorrow”, and you didn’t disappoint me. The happiness swelling inside me will carry me through the day like a grappling hook. Indeed, I think I dreamed about rappelling last night!

    Thank you so much for taking this challenge and making it your own. I get the same exhilarating feeling working my grill in inclimate weather; I grew up in Idaho, and we grill all year ’round.

    I’ve got ponzu on my shopping list! Must have elk satay! Woohoo!

  9. Robert – Your versions top the chart! Elk and moose, WOW, and the chicken skin…that one intrigues me the most! Wonderful and delicious sounding satays.

  10. Wow, this is just awesome! Being Swedish I’m no stranger to eating moose (I can never quite remember the difference between moose and elk, but if I remember correctly it’s moose that we get here in Sweden). I always prepare it traditionally (chanterelles, juniper berries, lingonberries, potatoes, red wine etc) but your experiments sound so so yummy! And those chicken skins – drool!!

  11. Your challenges always impress me so much, but I think this might be the most impressive so far. You used so many ingredients that I have never had that I am just so curious to taste. Elk? Moose? Yum! Hopefully one of these days I will get a chance to taste one of these unusual meats (well they are unusual for me at least).

  12. I really enjoy seeing what you are doing in Alaska. Moose, kangaroo, I guess that you can put anything on a stick.

  13. You really are the king. It does all start with fire.

    Every one of your satays looks delicious. It’s making me hungry all over again.

    • I can’t stress that enough. You never see a street vendor using a George Foreman grill to meke satay. The flavor from the smoke and higher heat is just one more step to set your satay apart from the crowd.

  14. I agree, nothing like grilling over the open flame to add that little extra. Love the ground meat formed around the skewer. Never heard of chicken skin, but I’ll give it a try next time.

  15. Such interesting meats! You always make cool variations =D.

  16. Elk and Moose satay? Grilled outdoors in winter? I’ll be right over, please set a sitting for me!

  17. Oh Robert, you never cease to amaze and inspire me! I have never seen moose or elk for sale here. The “wildest” we get is bison, but it costs us! I look forward to trying your chicken skin recipe, I never know what to do with it besides broiling it or deep frying it to get it crisp. I might even fire up my grill…something I *never* do from Nov to April or May!

  18. Love the pictures and love your take on the satay challenge. I can’t imagine grilling anything in weather such as this. But bravo and great job! Love the pictures too.

  19. That raw elk looks absolutely gorgeous. And chicken skin! One of my favorite things ever! My mouth is watering at 7:30 am. Bravo.

  20. Great job with the challenge this month! Love the creativity employed. I wish we’d taken a few more liberties with our recipes this time around!

    That said, we ended up doing a version with elk too, since we were able to obtain it locally from an elk farm. Absolutely delicious! And I guess great minds think alike! Kudos for a job well done.

  21. All your marinades sound fantastic, especially with your savvy grill techniques. A creative bang-up challenge!

  22. those chicken skins look to die for!!!

  23. Really, really impressive! I love that you experimented not only with different meats, but with so many different marinade ingredients, especially all the various Asian flavours.

  24. your satay sound amazing, especially the elk – delicious!

  25. I love it that you grilled in the snow!!! Too rainy here in Seattle right now.
    Great pics!

  26. I’m not sure how but you managed to make chicken fat look appetizing. I also love the idea of substituting cashew for the peanuts. You did an amazing job with the challenge.

  27. I assumed my northern latitude in Wisconsin exempted me from digging my grill out from the snow. You have put me to shame; Alaskans clearly are made from stronger stuff than Cheeseheads. All your satays look amazing. I’d love to give that ground meat version a try… maybe wrapped up in the chicken skin??

    • You jest about wrapping things in chicken skin. I actually did a blog way back in the day that was halibut wrapped in chicken skin.

      As for the difference between Midwesterners and Alaskans, not so different. We just get REALLY used to winter.

  28. It all looks fantastic. I think I would like to try the chicken thigh next after seeing your photos.

  29. Welcome back, one of my fav cooks ever 🙂 Your satays are gorgeous, and love the use of the chicken skin, along with the ground moose, and elk, plus the soy-tamarind glaze and cuke-shallot salad. When can I come by and sample your mastery? So creative all around, and gorgeous photos!

  30. Wow, that looks so good. I love that you paired it with the cucumber salad. Grilling in the winter never stops us either. It is good to see you have snow in Anchorage. We have very little here 😦

  31. To see the grill covered in snow, then the warm glow of the satay; beautiful! Elk? Fabulous idea, unique for me on the west coast to see. So interesting; thanx for the post!

  32. Robert, I love the elk kababs! Actually, it all looks delicious! In the years that I have read your blog, your cooking has come so incredibly far. I am impressed and inspired.

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