Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce

beef satay with peanut sauce

What is it about food on a stick? Is it that you feel like you're eating a Tootsie Pop, or maybe a Fudgsicle? I don't know. I just know that if you put it on a stick, my family will eat it.

Plus, this is just about a perfect recipe. It's sweet and limey and salty and just spicy enough to tingle your lips. And it's quick to assemble. I used flank steak, but I think this would be really good with chicken or tofu -- though with tofu, I'd marinate it longer, maybe even overnight. As for the peanut sauce, I might think about cutting it in half next time, as it made tons. But it is excellent on rice, so the leftovers are welcome.

Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: Serves 4


    1 pound skirt or flank steak, trimmed
    3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce (okay, mine wasn't reduced-sodium, surprise, surprise)
    1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
    2 teaspoons brown sugar
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    16 (9-inch) bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

    Peanut Sauce (Makes 1 2/3 cups):
    1 tablespoon canola oil
    1/4 cup minced shallots
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    3/4 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (we used Thai Kitchen brand)
    1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
    2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
    2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
    2/3 cup water
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


  1. If using skirt steak, cut the meat crosswise into 4 pieces, each about 4 inches long. Slice each piece across the grain into 4 strips 1 inch wide. Lightly pound the strips to flatten them. If using flank steak, halve the meat lengthwise, then thinly slice it across the grain into 30 to 40 1/4-inch strips. (Tip: Partially freezing the meat for 45 minutes makes it easier to slice).
  2. Whisk the lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, dark brown sugar, garlic, curry powder, and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl. Add the steak and toss gently. Cover and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare your grill or heat a grill pan to medium-high. Lightly oil the grates or pan. Thread 1 piece of skirt steak, or 2 to 3 pieces of flank steak, onto the skewers, stretching each piece taut to maximize contact with the grill.
  4. Grill the skewers until the steak is seared and just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Serve with the Peanut Sauce. SAFETY NOTE: If you plan to eat right off the skewer, be sure to use bamboo (not metal) to avoid burns.
  5. For the Peanut Sauce: Heat the oil in a small saucepan. Add the shallots, garlic, and Thai red curry paste and sauté over medium-low heat until the shallots and garlic are just tender and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  6. Stir in the peanut butter, hoisin sauce, dark brown sugar, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice and let the sauce cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Read more about Catherine making Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce with her family.

See more recipes from Catherine Newman at her "Dalai Mama Dishes" blog.

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