Recipes: Beef satay with Thai-style cucumber salad

I was paging through recipe books for inspiration last weekend and remembered how much I love satays. The little skewers that come with a rich peanut dipping sauce are such a classic Asian dish. When we’re in Thailand they’re regularly on our wishlist – well, they all taste slightly different and the sauces vary too, so it’s important to get in a good sampling.

It seemed crazy that I had never tried to make them myself – well, no time like the present. This recipe does take a bit of time in the preparation but you can do it all well ahead and grill or barbecue your skewers at the last minute. And although the list of ingredients can look intimidating they are similar in all three elements so don’t panic. I promise you, it’s worth the effort – this is one of the nicest dishes I’ve cooked all year.

Serves 2

For the skewers

500g rump steak, very thinly sliced. I ran a very sharp knife through the steak and cut it into half before cutting it into strips.

For the marinade

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 sticks of lemongrass, chopped

1 chilli, chopped

2 tsps ginger, chopped

Half a tsp of turmeric

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

2 tbsp dark soya sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

4 tsp brown sugar

Juice of 1 lime

Mix all the marinade ingredients together and add the thinly sliced steak. Leave to marinate for at least two hours, overnight if you have time.

Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce.

This makes a good batch for two meals. We quickly fried  prawns in  chilli oil the next night and dipped them into the leftover sauce. Totally delicious.

1 cup dry roasted peanuts

One-third of a cup of water

1 clove of garlic, peeled

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp fish sauce

Half a tsp of cayenne pepper

160ml tin of coconut cream

Place everything into a food mixer and blend until your sauce is completely smooth.

Top tip: Make sure you use dry roasted peanuts they give the sauce a much deeper flavour.


For the salad

4 spring onions, shredded

Half a cucumber, sliced lengthways into long strips

A large handful of fresh mint leaves

For the dressing

1 tbsp fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tbsp light soya sauce

1 tsp brown sugar

Mix everything together,  pour over the cucumber, spring onion and mint salad and toss.

The simplest of salads goes perfectly with the rich beef and dipping sauce
The simplest of salads goes perfectly with the rich beef and dipping sauce

Thread the thin slices of beef in folds onto skewers. If you’re using wooden skewers, make sure to soak them in cold water in the sink for at least half an hour.

Place under the grill for about 4 minutes on each side. They won’t take long as the steak is so finely sliced.

Serve with a dollop of the peanut sauce and the salad on the side.

The delicious skewers with the equally delicious sauce
The delicious skewers with the equally delicious sauce

Do you have a favourite recipe for satay sauce? I know it can vary enormously so I’d love to hear from anyone out there with their favourite way of making it.


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