Satays always remind me of street food. The aroma of coal grilled Satay´s in the early evening, and the prospect of a chilled beer are a welcoming sight along the banks of the Mekong.
A lot of restaurants serve Satay´s, generally made with Pork or Chicken. Skewered on bamboo sticks, these grilled titbits are normally served as starters or snacks. However, seeing as most restaurants do not have a dedicated grill, many resort to deep frying the Satay´s, bamboo sticks and all.
There are many recipes for the marinades used, depending on what recipe is followed (Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai etc…). Brushing Satay´s on the grill with Coconut Milk gives off a wonderful aroma and gets the taste buds flowing.
Most Satay´s are accompanied by a Peanut Sauce. Sadly, many eateries abroad resort to using Peanut Butter mixed with Spices and Coconut Milk to make the sauce. Dry toasting raw Peanuts to make the sauce is time consuming, but well worth it.
Over the past few weeks I have been thinking about a new way to serve them, as eating from bamboo sticks not only makes our diners fingers dirty, getting the last piece from the skewer doesn’t look in place over a romantic dinner.
To cut a long story short, I decided to lightly chop the meat (we use pork), and then remove the sticks after grilling them. After a few trials I decided to add a small amount of pork fat to the mixture to stop it from drying out over the high flame. Without the sticks, it is easier to eat, and the added fat makes it juicy and tender as the fat melts away when cooking.
Our New Style Satay is served with Pickled Carrots, Shallots, (real) Peanut Sauce and Curry Salt.
Deep fried King Prawn Tempura is one of my favourite snacks. We use fresh “Langostinos de Sanlucar”, which have a wonderful natural sweetness, and must never be overcooked.
Baby Carrots and Sweetcorn with “Langostinos de Sanlucar” Tempura.
The idea is to just deep fry them in clean oil (we reserve some oil in a separate fryer for exclusive use for Tempura) for a minute or so.
They will continue to cook when removed from the oil, the batter acts insulation to the harsh heat of the oil, basically “steaming” the flesh whilst the batter crisps on the outside. We never drain any Tempura on kitchen towels, as this can make them soggy, instead we use a wire rack.
They must be served as soon as possible.
The Baby Carrots and Sweetcorn´s inherent sweetness matches that of the King Prawns and also provide a nice crunchiness to the dish.
Talking about King Prawns, we have been working with some rather different ones lately.
These Scarlet Prawns are called “Carabineros” and fetch higher prices than Lobsters.
Like many expensive ingredients, they are well worth it.
The flesh is very delicate, so it should always be served “undercooked”. The best part of the Carabineros is in the head.
In many Spanish Seafood Restaurants, these are grilled whole, then a hole is cut into the head so that the goodies inside can be eaten in spoonfuls. Though this looks spectacular, in my opinion the meat is always overcooked, or the head raw and still cold.
Our way of serving them is to very lightly cook the meat, remove it from the pan then make a sauce with the juice from the head “a la minute”.
The insides of the head are squeezed in to a pan before being heated and lightly seasoned.
The result is a very intense sauce, so only a little is needed, drizzled over the meat and served with a nice Rosé wine 🙂 .