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Indonesian Sate (Sate Babi and Sate Ayam Bumbu Kecap/Kacang)


Indonesian Sate Recipe
The sticks:

(check out the step-by-step pictures in the photo gallery)

Remember to soak those bamboo skewers in water for at least 1 hour to prevent them from burning later. I soaked mine for a good few hours; they kinda look good in the vase, eh? I should use them to decorate my flat.

The marinate:

I made two versions of sate, pork and chicken. It is best to get meat with a good amount of fat in it; the fatty bits will make the sate tender and juicy. However, if you’re on a low fat diet (hold your tears), no worries. I made a few sticks of lean and mean sate made of skinless, boneless chicken breasts for sous chef, who’s on a low fat diet, and my other friends ended up eating them too. They were that good.


Cut your meat into bite sized cubes first, then marinate with:

–    a good sprinkle of garlic salt
–    a couple dashes of ground paprika
–    a dash of white pepper
–    2 tsp ground coriander seeds
–    2 tsp ground nutmeg
–    1 tsp cumin
–    1 tsp olive oil
–    2 cloves of shallot, thinly sliced
–    A dash of soy sauce
–    Lots of kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce). You want them to be almost drowned in this.

Marinate for a few hours, or for best result, let it marinate overnight in the fridge.

The skewering:

The next day, stick the meat cubes with the bamboo skewers. I stick 4-5 pieces of meat cubes per sate. If you’re using meat with fatty bits, mix fatty and lean meat cubes in each skewer.

The grilling and basting:

I made the sate for a BBQ party, so I could grill them on a charcoal grill, which is the best scenario. However, if you don’t have one, it’s not the end of the world; you could make a pretty decent sate with an oven. Simply preheat oven to 200C, place the sate sticks on a baking sheet and grill them until you see some burnt bits. Please do not deep fry some sticks of meat and call them sate, pretty please?

Before grilling, squeeze a bit of lime juice over the sate.


While grilling, baste the sate with a mix of:

–    kecap manis (sweet soy sauce), this should be the dominant flavor
–    a dash of fish sauce
–    a clove of thinly sliced shallot
–    juice of half lime

The sates are done when the meat feels a bit firm (not rock hard), shrunk a bit, and beautifully caramelized.

The sauce:

I made two different sauces. One is kecap manis sauce, which is the same as the baste and peanut sauce.

–    1 cup of roasted peanuts (or use crunchy peanut butter)
–    1 clove of garlic
–    2 cloves shallot
–    1 tsp ground cumin
–    2 tsp ground coriander seeds
–    1 small block of palm sugar (or replace with brown sugar)
–    Salt, white pepper, a bit of olive oil

Process everything in a food processor until well mixed.

To serve, place the peanut sauce on a plate, add a dash of fish sauce, drizzle generously with kecap manis, and squeeze juice of a lime. I omitted chili from the sauces as some of my friends don’t eat hot food. Feel free to add one of two freshly chopped chilies in the sauce.

Bathe your freshly grilled sate in one of the sauces and serve (optional = serve with steamed rice or lontong/rice cakes).

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36 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

      • Natalie

        For those of us that CAN handle the heat, what is cabe rawit and do you add it to both the marinade and the basting/dipping sauce?

        This looks great! Going to make it this weekend.

        • cabe rawit = bird’s eye chilli. they are tiny and super hot. chop a few pieces (test the heat with just 1 chilli first ^_^) and add to the dipping sauce. wait for the moment when you bite into them….and whoa! hottt!

          what to do when it’s too hot? = sugar, sweet drinks, not carbonated ones ^_^

          have fun!

  1. Ahhh.. Rita and Bee in the same room. This place is just too damn sexy. I can’t take it! :)

    Great Sate recipe btw. I wasn’t familiar with Indonesian Sate.. but now i am!

  2. Great looking sate babi, right down to the enamel plate. I agree with the need for cabe rawit (bird chilies, which are sliced and added to the marinade/sauce–it looks like one or two may have been snuck in).

  3. Oh man, this sounds delicious! The marinade is so rich with flavor. I agree, the bamboo skewers do look kinda cool as a decoration! The light coming through the window in that photo looks gorgeous too.

  4. AlmadenMike

    Growing up in the Washington, D.C., in the 50s/60s, our family’s favorite dinner dish was “Pork Sates,” the recipe for which my mom found in some cookbook long forgotten. We pronounced “Sates” as one syllable with a long-a sound. Years later, we learned from a Washington Post article by the wife of the Indonesian ambassador that the dish we loved was very similar to Indonesian “Satay” (with a two-syllable pronunciation and “ah” pronunciation for the “a”).

    Fast forward some years and I meet a cute nurse from Malaysia who’d been in the U.S. for six months and tells me she really misses satay. I tell her “I can cook some for you!” I invite her over for dinner and make our beloved dish. She likes it OK, but says it’s not the satay that she’d grown up with. I hadn’t known that Malaysian satay was different. Very different! (Starting with adding a bunch of the hot “chili padi” of course. :-) )

    I look forward to making your recipe and comparing it to my family’s “sates” and my now-wife’s Malaysian satays.

    Many thanks for posting this recipe!

    — Mike in San Jose (( saw this recipe in reference from my friend Nate of the “House of Annie’s” excellent Hawaiian/Malaysian/American/International food blog: )

  5. Andy

    Sate is originally from indonesia, as the word “SATE” is on indonesia vocabulary. I like this version of sate, taste fantastic! thanks for the recipe! but just wondering how do you blend the palm sugar into food processor? cos palm sugar is “hard” things…

    • Aldi

      The word ‘sate’ has exist long before the conception of Indonesian Language. Sate is a common dish which can be found in most part of Asia, with different names and styles of course.:)

    • Fran

      You’ll be surprised to learn that pork actually has the least grams of fat in its meat in comparison to beef, lamb… Unless, of course, you choose to eat the fatty cut like pork belly, pork butt…

  6. Fran

    I’m just wondering which pork cut did you use here? I was just thinking that maybe I could use pork shank to make my sate babi, what do you think? Will it make a juicy and tender sate still, or a tough one?

    Thank you for the recipes. So far I’ve tried char kway teow and KL hokkien mee, and yes they were superb!


    • Fran

      Oops, I forgot to ask my other question. For the amount of sauce and marinade sauce up there, how many lbs/kiloes of meat was it for?


  7. Avsky

    Coming from an Indonesian background, I have tied so many different Sate recipes, but this is one I cannot wait to try! By grandmother is coming over and I hope I can impress her with this one ;)

    Just a question – how much meat did you use with the marinade? Going by the photos it looks like 500g – 1kg? (1-2 lbs)

  8. Serena

    Mochachocolata-Rita I LOVE this recipe! I made it a few times last year and the peanut sauce was divine (solving a mystery that’s been plaguing me forever). Two questions:

    1. How much meat is the marinade good for?
    2. I swear the first time I made this I heated the peanut sauce to carmelize the flavors a bit. And I thought there was lime juice in it as well. Am I going crazy?

    Thank you again for the gift of this recipe!

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