Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes Yield: SERVES 2-4

  • 1-1.5 lbs (.45 to .6 kg) beef steak, sliced into very thin strips, as thin as you can make it
  • 1 package wooden skewers
  • Dipping Sauce: see below for Satay Peanut Sauce


  • 1/4 cup minced or ready-prepared lemongrass , fresh, bottled, or frozen
  • 2 shallots OR 1 small onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced, OR 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal and/or ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 3 Tbsp. dark soy sauce (available at Asian food stores, buy you can substitute regular soy sauce)
  • 4 Tbsp. fish sauce (Three Crabs brand if you can find it, otherwise Golden Boy is a good second choice for brands)
  • 5-6 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil OR vegetable oil
  • 1/8 tsp. cardamom


  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water while you prepare the meat (to prevent burning). The kitchen sink works well for this.
  2. Place all ‘marinade’ ingredients in a food processor, large chopper, or blender. Process well.
  3. Taste-test the marinade – you will taste sweet, spicy, and salty. The strongest tastes should be SWEET and SALTY in order for the finished satay to taste its best. Add more sugar or more fish sauce (in place of salt) to adjust the taste. You can also add more chili if you want it spicier.
  4. Place beef in a covered bowl for marinating. Pour the marinade over and stir well to combine. Allow at least 1 hour for marinating, or longer (up to 24 hours).
  5. When ready to cook, thread meat onto the skewers. Tip: Fill up to 3/4 of the skewer, leaving the lower half empty so the person grilling has a “handle” to easily turn the satay.
  6. Grill the satay on an outdoor grill, basting the first time you time it with a little of the leftover marinade from the bottom of the bowl. To cook satay indoors: Place satay on a broiling pan or baking sheet covered with tin foil. Set oven to “broil” and place satay close beneath the heating element (second-to-top rung works well). Turn the satay every 5 to 6 minutes until done to your liking (15 to 25 minutes).

Serve with rice and Satay Peanut Sauce for dipping.



  • 1 cup fresh-tasting dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, depending on desired saltiness/flavor – Vegetarians substitute 1.5 -2.5 Tbsp. regular soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste OR 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk


  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.
  2. Do a taste test, adding more fish sauce (or soy sauce) if not salty enough, or more cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you’d prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.
  3. Serve warm or at room temperature with my Thai Chicken Satay, Thai Pork Satay, or Vegetarian/Vegan Thai Satay. It also makes a great dip with fresh veggies, fresh rolls, or other Asian finger foods. Or combine with noodles to create a Thai-style noodle dish or cold noodle salad.