Makes 8 to 10 skewers; Serves 4


For marinade:
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh lemongrass (from 1 medium-small stalk; bottom bulb portion only, with tough outer leaves removed)
  • 1 Tbsp. packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 small shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • Chubby 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, regular or gluten-free
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. neutral oil, such as peanut or safflower
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3/4 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper For beef satay:
  • Generous 1 pound top sirloin
  • About 2 Tbsp. neutral oil, such as peanut or safflower
  • 1 cup Indonesian Peanut Sauce (see separate recipe)
  • Sliced Fresno or jalapeño chili, for serving (optional)


    In a shallow dish, soak 8 to 10 wood or bamboo skewers in water to cover for 1 to 2 hours.

    Meanwhile, to make the marinade, in a mini food processor, combine the lemongrass and sugar and process until a paste forms. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, oil, coriander and cayenne (use the larger amount if you like heat) and process until an oatmeal-like texture forms. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Alternatively, in a mortar with a pestle, crush together the lemongrass and sugar until a paste forms. Add the shallot, garlic, ginger, coriander and cayenne and continue to work the ingredients together to form a rough paste. Transfer to a shallow dish and stir in the soy sauce, vinegar and oil.

    Trim off any gristle from the beef, then cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Add the beef to the marinade and mix to coat well. Thread 4 or 5 cubes onto each skewer. Set aside at room temperature to marinate for 1 to 2 hours.

    Light a medium-high fire in a charcoal or gas grill. Arrange the skewers directly over the fire and grill, turning the skewers a few times and basting, as needed, with the oil, until the beef is lightly charred all over but still medium within, about 7 minutes. Serve at once with the peanut sauce and chili (if using).

    From Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert's Renegade Life, © 2017 by Emily Kaiser Thelin, M&P; originally published in Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking by Paula Wolfert. Copyright (c) 2009 by Paula Wolfert. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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