The marinade for Indonesian satay was easy to make – all I needed was the kecap manis. Sri, who gave the wonderful cooking lesson I attended at Hotel Tugu, told me that "manis" means sweet in Indonesian and that "kecap" is literally "ketchup". So, sweet ketchup it is and that forms the base of the marinade. I was a little concerned that the flavours were too simple, but, by the time we cooked them up (reminder to self, barbecue does have settings other than "extremely hot" and it would be nice to use them), they were delicious. Slightly sweet with just a hint of the onion and garlic. The peanut sauce was just as simple – I’m sure that Sri would have pounded them on her stone mortar by hand, but I used the blender and it worked just as well (though burned far fewer calories). In deference to Mr Ed’s tender tastebuds, I used only one, de-seeded chilli. Left to my own devices, I would have used all three, complete with seeds, but domestic dinner-time harmony is important, so I just added chilli to mine when I served it. Again, simple flavours, but the lime juice gave it that little edge that had me eating this sauce by the spoonful before the skewers were cooked.
The flavours were very different to the Balinese fish sate that I’d cooked in Bali, but this dish is a great one to have in my repertoire. It would also work well if you grilled the meat without skewering it, and then served with toothpicks and sauce as party nibble. Nice!
What have you cooked after a holiday to recapture the vacation vibe?