Give me meat on a stick
Whether it is yakitori from Japan, shish kebab from Turkey, shashlik from the Caucasus, chuanr from China, or a sosatie from South Africa, it is still meat on a stick to me. Satay, which is delicious marinated meat or fish or tofu on a skewer, originated in Java, Indonesia, and is cooked over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings, sauces and dips. Satay is available almost anywhere in Indonesia and has become a national dish. I have eaten it as street food in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Thailand. It is even popular in the Netherlands, as Indonesia is a former Dutch colony.
It really makes no difference which country it comes from; the important thing is that it has spread to where I live and to me there is nothing more sexy than tasty little chunks of moist, succulent meat on a stick, or served with Italian flavours, like the soft milky ball of bocconcini; marinated in a homemade basil pesto, green and nutty and salty with freshly grated parmesan cheese, thread onto a bamboo skewer with a beautiful sweet sunripe cherry or Rosa tomato.
I love to take plump, free range chicken breasts, cut them into strips and marinate them in a mixture of ginger, grated garlic, some ground white pepper, grated orange zest, some finely chopped chilli and fresh coriander, some finely grated lime zest and a good drizzle of golden, runny honey and a little sesame oil; give it a good mix and let it lie for about 30 minutes before threading it onto a stick, grill till just done then splash with a little soy sauce and eat them while they are succulent and hot. You could also do this with beef; it works just well.
Another way I like to flavour my beef satay is to grind up some fragrant toasted cumin seeds with some white pepper, paprika and toasted caraway seed, stir in enough olive oil and crushed garlic to make a paste and then stir in the beef strips and massage the spice paste onto it, thread onto sticks and take it to the fire, salting them while they cook. It is especially yummy served with toasted pita breads, juicy fresh cucumber and lettuce salad drenched in my famous herby lemon vinaigrette and a large bowl of yummy nutty homemade hummus. Ok, you can buy the hummus in, but it is fabulous when it is homemade.
Another favourite is big fat, gorgeous meaty tiger prawns cleaned and marinated for a few minutes in lime juice and zest, peanut oil, chillies, garlic, fresh coriander, sesame oil, fish sauce and a few pinches of brown sugar.
The secret is to make the marinade and let it stand for about 30 minutes before you add the prawns. This lets the flavours develop and the prawns don’t get cooked by the lime juice. Butterfly them first then just toss them in the marinade for about eight minutes then thread onto skewers and brush with the marinade while they cook. You have to do this on a very hot grill and don’t overcook them now.
I often stuff baby calamari tubes with a mix of prawns and fish herbs and all things yummy so the flavour is on the inside. Stick a skewer up the middle of them, toss in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cook turning on a hot grill, served with a freshly cut lemon cheek and a Mediterranean style potato salad and a bowl of freshly washed and lightly tossed lemony rocket salad dusted with flacked sea salt.
Chicken is delicious marinated in a sticky paste pounded from kaffir lime leaves or lemon leaves. If you can’t find these (can’t bear to say the former twice), garlic, ginger, peanut butter, coconut milk, fresh lemon grass, fish sauce, fresh coriander, sweet basil, palm or brown sugar whizzed together will do just fine. Lay the chicken strips in the mixture and then let it rest for about 30 minutes, thread onto a stick and paint with any leftover marinade while it cooks!
One of my absolute favourites is the chicken satay that I have eaten at Wang Thai restaurant with their unbelievable peanut sauce. This sauce totally blows my hair back; it is just so yum. In Vietnam they serve grilled chicken satay with a cheek of fresh lime and a mixture of salt and ground white pepper. You squeeze the lime into the salt mixture, pluck the chicken off the stick and rub in the paste and make your mouth love you.
Here is a quick recipe to cook in the oven if you don’t have a place to braai.
Pork kebabs scented with Indian spices
serves 4 -6
- 1kg of pork neck, cubed
- 1 cup of natural yoghurt
- 1 tbls ground coriander
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1 large green chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tbls ginger, finely grated
- 2 tbls fresh coriander, chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- 10 ml lemon zest, finely grated
- 4 large pre-soaked wooden skewers
- olive oil for frying
Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the pork in a glass bowl. Mix together all the remaining ingredients and thoroughly coat the pork cubes. Cover and marinate for 5 hours.
Thread pork onto skewers, heat oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry the kebabs in batches – 2 minutes per side. Pack onto an oven tray and cook for 5 minutes. Remove and let the pork rest before serving.
© Jenny Morris More Rude Food
Tip: You can use beef lamb or chicken instead of pork.