The Best Beef Sates in SingaporeSteven Raichlen
Tiny flame-seared beef kebabs—the cumin, coriander, and turmeric marinade rocks.
The Best Beef Sates in Singapore
- Advance Prep: 2 to 12 hours for marinating the beef
- Yield: Serves 6 as an appetizer, 4 as a light main course
- Method: Direct grilling
- Equipment: 8-inch bamboo skewers; an aluminum foil grill shield
- 1 1/2 pounds rib eye steaks (about 1/2 inch thick)
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce or soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Singapore Cucumber Relish (optional), for serving
- Fried Garlic Peanut Sauce (optional), for serving
Step 1: Cut the steaks, including the fat, into 1/2-inch cubes and place them in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, coriander, turmeric, cumin, pepper, fish sauce, and oil. Let the beef marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 2 hours; the longer it marinates, the richer the flavor will be.
Step 2: Drain the cubes of beef, discarding the marinade. Thread the beef onto bamboo skewers, leaving the bottom half of each skewer bare for a handle and 1/4 inch exposed at the pointed end. The satés can be prepared several hours ahead to this stage. Refrigerate the satés, covered, until ready to grill.
Step 3: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high.
Step 4: When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the satés on the hot grate, with the aluminum foil shield under the exposed ends of the skewers to keep them from burning. Grill the satés until cooked to taste, 1 to 2 minutes per side for medium-rare, a little longer for medium. (In general, Southeast Asians prefer their satés medium to medium-well done.) Use the poke test to check for doneness.
Step 5: Serve the satés with Singapore Cucumber Relish and Fried Garlic Peanut Sauce, if desired. The traditional way to eat the satés is to skewer a piece of cucumber on the pointed end of the skewer, then dip the saté in the peanut sauce.
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