Saturday, 15 March 2008

Cultural Exchange, Satay and Honesty

I've mentioned in a previous post that one of the things I love about food blogging is getting to learn about other cuisines, ingredients and cultures. Just as I learn, I also like to share. So in carrying on with the theme of Cultural Exchange, I'm going to share with you one of Malaysia's best known foods. When it comes to food, Malaysia is a 'food paradise'. All of you Malaysian's that are reading this would probably agree that there is nothing quite so special or delicious than Satay! Any visit to Malaysia would be incomplete without partaking of our delicious Satay. So what exactly is Satay??

Satay could probably be classified as Malaysia's National Dish although it would be a tough fight with Nasi Lemak. Basically, Satay is pieces of marinated meat, skewered on a thin bamboo stick and then barbecued (or grilled - depending which part of the world you come from) over burning charcoal. The grilled meat is then served with Kuah Kacang - a piquant peanut sauce, fresh cucumber and onion slices as well as Ketupat or Nasi Himpit (compressed rice).

Satay can be found at most food stalls that abound throughout the country. Most commonly, Satay is available as Chicken Satay, Beef Satay and sometimes Mutton Satay.

The picture above shows Beef and Chicken Satay with the Beef being the darker colour, of course.

There are some shops or food stalls that serve Tripe satay as well. Supposedly, the best Satay is in a small town called Kajang.

The difference between a great Satay and a good Satay often lies in the Kuah Kacang (Peanut Sauce). Sometimes the sauce is a bit sweetish and sometimes it is a little too piquant. There is no such thing as a Bad Satay because.. well Satay can never be bad - always either Great or just plain Good. That's Satay for you!

Just last weekend, we were wondering what to do for dinner. The kids were in their 'I dont know' mode while The Lovely Wife suggested buying back some stall food and in particular some Satay. The kids seemed happy with that as we all love Satay. My son in particular loves the Ketupat with Kuah Kacang (Peanut Sauce).

When we got home, I casually remarked to my wife to please use a nice plate to lay out the Satay while I went to get my camera. My son, on overhearing me say I was going to get the camera, immediately objected.

Michael: "Daddy, I hope your not taking pictures for your blog! "

Me: "I am Mike. Why not? "

Michael:" Thats cheating, Dads! You didn't make the Satay!! "

I couldn't help laughing and I explained to him that I wasn't going to cheat but there was nothing wrong with posting about Satay just to share with everyone else - as long as I didn't claim to have made it. But I'm glad he knows the importance of honesty!

Some people like to eat the Satay with just a touch of sauce. Others, like me, like to have lots and lots of peanut sauce with their Satay. However you eat it though, Satay is truly a most delightful and wonderful dish!


Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I hope that someday you will post your own recipe for satay Dharm. I have made it in the past and love it, but am not sure if it is truly aithentic:D

breadchick said...

Darn You Dharm!!!

Here I am, at work on a Saturday morning (don't ask), and I even brought my lunch in to work because I was going to be a good girl and not spend money on take out and you go and ruin the perfectly laid plans of mice and men by showing my satay dipped in what has to be one of the most perfect condiments known to man and beast, peanut sauce.

Good thing I at least have to walk to the Thai restaurant that I know serves satay in peanut sauce...

glamah16 said...

Those Satay look so good.One day I want to visit your country and sample the real deal from the food stalls.
Oh and I totally forgot about the challenge and ingrediants. That is the perfect excuse to buy more fish and experiment as I have all the rest at home!

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Nikki @ NikSnacks said...

I'd like to see a satay recipe from you too, Dharm. I'm severely allergic to peanuts, but I'm learning to make traditional dishes without them. I'd love to see what you'd come up with.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

One of my favorite things about my visit to Malaysia was stopping at night market satay stalls, sitting outside near the grill and watching the stall owner turning and basting dozens of satays at one time. I've never been able to make satay that tastes as good as those we ate in Malaysia.

Le Flâneur Novice said...

Hello Dharm :)

I've been away from my blog , and also from many blogs. And unfortunatelly had lost my blog list.

Today I'm trying to find the blogs I love again.

A big big thanks to Google :))))

I DO love kids!

They are 'honest', and best friends to learn to be honest to one's self :)

And yours are some really smart of the kids :)

And again you're right; satay can't be bad :)))

I tred once here in Istanbul, and if I liked it here miles away, it must be so delicious at it's own hometown :)

Best wishes,

Thistlemoon said...

I am pleased to hear that your kids are keeping you in line, Dharm! LOL! :)

I love satay, but I am sure I will not have realy god satay until I visit Malaysia!

Deeba PAB said...

Certainly cheating Dhram...mouth watering descriptions & no recipe. Looked up & down, read & re-read like the db challenge...grrrrrrrrrr! Hopefully you'll soon let us in on a recipe too...I'm waiting for chicken satays & the sauce too please! :0) Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

I am crushed! I, too, thought I would find how to make perfect and savory satay! And perfect peanut sauce! How I miss satay. I haven't seen it in over 7 years since I moved here. Thing is, in the supermarket there are frequently tiny brochettes of mutton that would be perfect for making satay, which I never saw in the USA. Where is my bridge between the two experiences? It could be YOU.

Dharm said...

Guys, guys, guys...!! I am so sorry but I don't have a recipe for Satay... never made it and don't think I will coz you just cant beat the stuff from the food stalls... Sorry.
Peanut sauce? Now that might be another story. Maybe one of these days I will do it since my son loves ketupat (compressed rice) with peanut sauce!

Maggie said...

I love your son's comments! My son is constantly asking to take the pictures of the food or trying to sneak in behind the food to get into the picture. And that satay looks so good!!


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