Beef Satay with Toasted Sesame

Pairs Well With

Serves 4-6


3 garlic cloves, crushed 

1 small onion, chopped 

1 tablespoon brown sugar

 Juice of 1 lime 

1 tablespoon fish sauce, preferably Thai

½ teaspoon tamarind pulp (available in Asian markets), dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water, optional 

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 pound beef, such as sirloin or a similar midrange piece, cut into very thin strips ½ inch wide by 2 inches long

 Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for several hours

 Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)

2 teaspoons lightly toasted sesame seeds

Peanut Sauce Recipe below


Put the garlic, onion, brown sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, dissolved tamarind pulp (if using) and sesame oil into the container of a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Set aside.

Thread the meat, ribbon- like, onto the bamboo skewers, putting 2 to 3 pieces on each skewer. Arrange the skewers in a dish in which they can lie flat, pour the marinade over the meat and let stand 30 to 60 minutes; rotate the meat now and then.

Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce.

Preheat an indoor grill or oven broiler.

Remove the meat from the marinade and cook quickly either on the grill or under the broiler. Turn the satay after 2 to 3 minutes; do not cook longer than 5 minutes total.

Tip the sauce into a small bowl and set it in the center of a serving platter. Arrange the satay around the bowl, scatter the sesame seeds on top and enjoy right away.

Peanut Sauce

Makes about 1½ cups

¾ cup roasted peanuts, ground in a food processor or mortar

1 small onion, diced

1 14-ounce can coconut milk

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cayenne (or to taste)

1 stalk fresh lemon grass, fat part only, minced

1 tablespoon fish sauce, preferably Thai

1 tablespoon dark sweet soy sauce (available in Asian markets)

Put the peanuts into a saucepan set over medium heat. Stir in the onion, coconut milk, brown sugar, cayenne, lemon grass, fish sauce and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat, cover and keep warm until ready to use.


Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “The Good Cook’s Book of Mustard.” Email her at