“Satay is found all over Southeast Asia. In Singapore, these little flame-seared morsels are a popular and affordable street snack enjoyed at all hours of the day and night. You could substitute chicken, lamb or goat for the beef if you prefer.″ Adam Liaw, Destination Flavour Singapore






Skill level

Average: 3.3 (205 votes)


  • 1 kg beef topside 
  • 50 small bamboo skewers
  • 125 ml (½ cup) peanut oil, for brushing
  • cucumber and red onion pieces, to serve



  • 1 medium brown onion, coarsely chopped 
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, tender inner core only, finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp peanut oil


Peanut sauce

  • 10 large dried chillies, de-seeded and soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
  • 2 medium brown onions, sliced sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, tender inner core only, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp belacan (shrimp paste)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) peanut oil
  • 300 g ground roasted peanuts
  • 400 ml coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp tamarind pulp 
  • 125 ml (½ cup) hot water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 1 hour
Marinating time 3-4 hours, or overnight if time permits

Place the meat in the refrigerator or freezer for 1 hour - this will make it easier to slice. Using a large sharp knife, thinly slice the meat against the grain, then again into 5 cm long pieces.

To make the marinade, place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, add the beef and stir to combine well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours or overnight if time permits.

Meanwhile, to make the peanut sauce, place the chillies, onions, garlic, lemongrass, belacan, coriander and cumin in a blender and process until smooth. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and fry the paste, stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes until very fragrant. Add the peanuts and coconut cream and bring to a simmer. Combine the tamarind pulp and hot water until smooth, then add to the sauce with the sugar and salt and simmer for another 5-10 minutes or until the sauce starts to form an oily gloss on the surface. Re-heat gently just before serving.

Soak the bamboo skewers in cold water for at least 1 hour before skewering. Thread one slice of beef onto each skewers, weaving it onto the skewer 2-3 time to hold it in place. You only want the meat to come about one-third of the way down the skewer. Use your hands to mold the skewer into a nice firm shape.

Preheat a barbecue hot plate, grill pan or frying pan over high heat. Brush the skewers with oil, then cook, basting regularly with extra oil and turning regularly for about 5 minutes until cooked through. Serve immediately with the peanut sauce, with cucumber and red onion on the side.


• When combining the meat with the marinade, it’s often best to use your hand to work it all together, but to avoid staining your hands yellow, wear disposable surgical gloves!

• If using a barbecue, grill the satay on the hotplate side rather than the open grill side, or if cooking under an overhead grill, cover the bamboo part of the skewers with a piece of foil. Both these steps will help stop the sticks from burning during cooking. Be sure to soak your bamboo skewers at least 1 hour ahead of time so they don't instantly incinerate on the grill.


Image by Adam Liaw.


Destination Flavour Singapore airs Thursdays at 8pm on SBS. Visit the program page for more details, recipes and guides.