Last night Jac, our house guest VR and I went to my folks’ place for Satay Night. There were about twenty or so hungry people in attendance, including my siblings and their partners, my grandma, my brother’s mum-in-law, friends of my parents who are visiting from Malaysia and staying with them, and friends of my brother and my sister-in-law who are visiting from South Australia. One very pleased guest was Honey, my brother’s dog, who was kept well-fed with meaty morsels all evening.
There were two kinds of satay, chicken and beef. The satay was all home-made, the meat cut into the right-sized pieces and marinated, then skewered by hand on the sticks that morning. In addition to the two kinds of satay, we enjoyed a special treat of kangaroo kebabs. These were threaded on skewers and looked like satay, but were marinated very differently Chinese-style, in sherry, ginger juice, oyster sauce, soy sauce and pepper, and skewered with chunks of onion and green capsicum. The kangaroo came from my cousin’s farm in Three Springs. Mum said the Malaysian husbands did the skewering, and Auntie T (one of the Malaysian wives) marinated the kangaroo. Great job, all!
The satay was cooked on a special satay stove/burner with hot coals in it, and for ease of use the satay stove was placed on top of the standard barbecue. The photo on the left was taken by my brother because I was too short to get a decent shot “from the top”.
My brother and his friend Michael were the tukang sate (satay cooks) and did a brilliant job ensuring that all the meat was cooked to perfection. The guys basted the satay constantly as it cooked, using a traditional satay basting brush – a lemongrass stalk, with the green end trimmed so it was like a brush, dipped into oil.
Since I was hanging around the satay burner taking photos, when a volunteer was sought to sample the very first satay I eagerly said I’d love to. They handed me a beef satay to try, hot and glistening off the burner. Mmmmmmmm, it was goooooood.
The tukang sate were kept busy all night. But of course when you’re the person cooking the satay you get the first pick of each round of freshly cooked satay, straight off the burner.
The first round of satay, ready for the hungry hordes! L-R are kangaroo kebabs, chicken and beef.
To go with the satay we had the traditional side dishes, including rice cakes, fresh cucumber, chunks of raw onion and a big dish of satay kuah (the peanut sauce).
The peanut sauce had a little chilli in it but was kept mild for the people who preferred a less spicy sauce. But for the people who like to blow their socks off, the option of adding some dried chilli was available.
And to balance off the very meaty meal, there was a huge dish of vegetarian noodles, with rice noodles, egg, cucumber, cabbage and carrot. The noodles were simple but very tasty, and went very well with the satay.
My plate, round one. Doesn’t look like much, but I had quite a few rounds.
It was all delicious, of course, but the kangaroo kebabs were amazing. The guys made sure they were cooked rare. This, plus their having been marinated ensured the meat was deliciously moist and tender.
It is traditional to serve ketupat (rice cakes) with satay. On this occasion the rice cakes were actually instant ones from a packet (the green packet in the photo). You boil the packets of rice cake mix (top right in the photo) for 60-90 minutes – the individual plastic packets are heatproof so you chuck them straight into the pan. They puff up inside those special plastic packets (bottom right in the photo) as they boil. Then it’s up to you to just remove the plastic and carve the rice into smaller cubes.
Here’s the pile of everyone’s satay sticks when the plates had been cleared. I meant to keep track of how many I satay I ate but I forgot. I reckon maybe I had 12… or 15…
The sweets write-up is coming up next.