08/01/2012 06:20 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Satay Skewers From Around The Globe

Todd Coleman

There's nothing more delicious than satay fresh off the grill, when the skewers of seasoned meats are hot, juicy and infused with the flavor of smoldering charcoal. Though it's the ultimate southeast Asian snack, satay is believed to be a descendant of the kebabs that Middle Eastern merchants introduced to Java, in western Indonesia, in the eighth century. Local cooks adapted the dish to include indigenous ingredients, and in the centuries that followed, satay proliferated, resulting in countless regional variations.

Satay Kambing
A sweet-and-sour marinade typifies this west Javanese-style satay.

1 tbsp. tamarind paste
1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
2 tsp. peanut oil
1½ tsp. ground coriander
1½ tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 large shallots, chopped
1 2" piece ginger, chopped
1 lb. lamb shoulder, cut into 1"-wide, ¼"-thick slices

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1. Stir tamarind and 3 tbsp. boiling water in a bowl until dissolved; pour through strainer into a food processor. Puree with sugar, oil, coriander, turmeric, salt, garlic, shallots and ginger. Combine paste and lamb in a bowl; chill 4 hours.

2. Build a hot charcoal fire in a grill. Thread 2 pieces of lamb each on 16 skewers; grill, turning, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes.

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Satay Udang
Ground macadamia nuts enrich this spicy Singaporean-style shrimp satay.

1½ lb. (about 40) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped shallots
1½ tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
8 Kaffir lime leaves, stemmed
5 macadamia nuts
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 red Thai chiles, stemmed
1 3" piece ginger, chopped
3 tbsp. peanut oil
1/3 cup coconut milk

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1. In a bowl, toss shrimp and lime juice; set aside. Puree shallots, sugar, salt, lime leaves, nuts, garlic, chiles and ginger in a small food processor. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat; add paste. Cook, stirring, until oil separates from paste, 3-4 minutes. Stir in coconut milk. Cool. Stir into shrimp; chill 4 hours.

2. Build a hot charcoal fire in a grill. Thread 2 shrimp each on 20 skewers. Spoon marinade over shrimp; grill, turning, until charred, 3-5 minutes.

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Beef Satay
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten created this intensely flavorful contemporary satay.

1/3 cup soy sauce
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
2 tbsp. grated orange zest
4 tsp. fish sauce
1½ tsp. dark brown sugar
1 tsp. canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. beef sirloin, cut into 1"-wide, ¼"-thick slices

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1. Puree soy sauce, cilantro, orange zest, fish sauce, sugar, oil and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Toss paste and beef in a bowl; chill 4 hours.

2. Build a hot charcoal fire in a grill. Thread 1 piece of beef each on 12 skewers; grill, turning, until charred, about 5 minutes.

See 6 more savory satay recipes »