Beef satay is one of those staple dishes in Thai restaurants. If you want something, do it at home! ! You’ll love how the cut of beef is economical and so juicy you’ll swear it’s premium meat. These skewers are so good you could eat them as is, but no one can pass up Thai peanut sauce!
Important note: They are great for grilling, or even better, grilling over charcoal for a truly authentic Thai experience.
Thai Beef Satay
When I eat at Thai restaurants I tend to use the chicken satay menu because I know it’s hard to go wrong with chicken. Beef satay, on the other hand, can be a serious fluke. Bald, tough, dry beef is a very common adverb.
To experience the authentic taste of beef satay, it is best to make it yourself. It’s easy to do, cheaper, and you know it will be a hit!
What brand is this? These are juicy pieces of beef that are first marinated in satay seasoning. They are then placed on a hot pan to char the outer skin while keeping the inside nice and pink.
To serve, accompany the skewers with a bowl of rich and creamy Thai peanut sauce, perfect with these smoky lollipops.
The secret for tenderising beef: baking soda / bi-carb
This beef shatu recipe is a bit special because it includes an easy way to use baking soda/baking soda to tenderize tougher cuts of beef so they become juicier. Marinate the carpaccio overnight in a bechamel with a little baking soda (only 1/2 teaspoon for 600g of beef) and cook as usual.
Baking soda magically loosens fibers from meat, making beef more tender without changing the texture of the beef itself. It is based on a method called velvet which is used in Chinese restaurants.
Here is the velvet recipe detailing the technique. The Chinese method works for thinner strips of beef, uses more baking soda, and a shorter marinating time (about 40 minutes to 1 hour). Baking soda is also rinsed off before cooking. The result is a soft “velvet”-like texture, hence the name.
However, for these Thai beef sausages, I really wanted to keep the original texture of the beef, so I used less baking soda and marinated overnight.
The amount is too small to taste.
The result? The juicy cuts of beef you swear by are premium cuts! As a bonus, it’s also nearly impossible to overcook beef with baking soda.
Ingredients in Thai Beef Satay
In this section, I have separated the ingredients as follows:
- Beef Satay Marinade and
- Thai Peanut Sauce.
1. INGREDIENTS FOR BEEF SATAY MARINADE WITH TENDERISER
Here are the ingredients needed for the beef and sausage marinade:
A quick look at some of the ingredients:
- Beef – I like to use rump steak (porter sirloin equivalent to American sirloin) which I then tenderize with baking soda/double carbs as described in the previous section. This is a moderately priced, premium cut of beef that has a good meaty flavor and retains its neat cube shape when cooked. However, it can be a little hard, so soaking it in baking soda overnight to soften it is perfect.
- Feel free to use more expensive and tender cuts of beef such as boneless tenderloins/ribs. If you do, skip the baking soda, as there’s clearly no benefit to tenderizing the beef further.
Be careful not to overcook!
- Baking Soda/Double Carbs – As mentioned in the previous section, baking soda/double carbs are the magic ingredient for tenderizing the toughest cuts of beef in this recipe;
- Thai Red Curry Paste – It’s Thai An essential key seasoning in stir fries, beef marinades and peanut sauces, as it’s high in umami (a nerd term for savory). You can make your own curry paste, but since this recipe only calls for 3 tbsp, I tend to only use store-bought.
- The brand of red curry paste that I recommend is Maesri, as shown in the image below. It comes in small boxes and is very inexpensive (around $1).
25) It is available in major Australian grocery stores (Coles, Woolworths, Harris Farms) as well as Asian grocery stores. The taste is much better (in my opinion) than other traditional curry pastes.
- Coconut Milk – Not all coconut milks are created equal. Cheaper brands are diluted with water and contain less coconut, as well as less coconut flavor and fat. I recommend the Ayam brand which is 89% coconut extract (some other brands are as low as 53%!) You can use low fat coconut milk but I won’t tolerate it!
- Leftover Coconut Milk – This recipe doesn’t use the whole can, so if you’re not using the leftovers right away, freeze them.
Otherwise, click here for other coconut milk recipes.
- Curry Powder – Curry powder is another flavoring used in casseroles. It is a background fragrance, so there is no need to use a specific type. Any generic “curry powder” will do here. I use Clives or Keens (mild, not hot).
2. THAI PEANUT SAUCE
This is the restaurant-style Thai peanut sauce for you!
- Red Curry Paste – This is a key ingredient in Thai Peanut Sauce, so I really encourage you to try the Maesri brand recommended in the previous section! But if you can’t do that, any Thai red curry paste you can find will do;
- Natural Peanut Butter – This peanut butter is often sold in the health food aisle of grocery stores. It differs from consumer products because it contains no added sugar, salt or other preservatives. It also has a stronger peanut flavor and is runnier than sweet peanut butters such as Kraft or Bega. This means better flavor for the sauce and gives the sauce the right consistency.
Commercial peanut butter spreads, on the other hand, are thicker and less peanut flavored. So you have to use more to get the same flavor, which makes the sauce thicker than ideally. That said, store-bought peanut butter works great as a substitute!
- Dark Soy – Add salt to the sauce to make it darker. Otherwise, you can also use light soy sauce or all-purpose soy sauce.
The sauce will be a little lighter;
- Apple Cider Vinegar – lots of options here, we just need a vinegar to add to the broth to balance out the taste of the sauce;
- Coconut milk – the main liquid in Thai peanut sauce. As with marinades, a good brand high in coconut is what you want (check the label for ingredients). I use Ayam. Don’t tell me low fat coconut milk!
How to make Thai Beef Satay
1. THAI PEANUT SAUCE
Peanut butter is a quick job and slow cooker:
- Place all ingredients in medium saucepan over medium-low heat; and
- simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the bottom from sticking.
Like I said, this is an easy “plop stew”! !
2. HOW TO MAKE THAI BEEF SATAY
- Cut beef into 1-inch/2.5-cm cubes.
- Mix the satay marinade in a bowl.
- Mix the beef with the sausage marinade.
- Marinate the beef for 24 hours.
For this recipe, I wouldn’t recommend reducing the marinating time to ensure the baking soda has enough time to properly tenderize the beef.
- Beef skewers on a spit. I like to use short skewers that fit in the pan. Usually I put 4 cubes on each skewer, but if I go as an appetizer, I might only make 3.
- Cook the skewers in a griddle or skillet on the stove or better yet grill them over high heat.
For the most authentic Thai street food experience, cook with charcoal!
- Flip skewers and cook each side (i.e. all 4) until charred and cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. It is important to know that beef tenderized with baking soda will only be tender when cooked through. If it’s medium-rare, the beef will be pretty tough because we’re using economy cuts of beef. Yes, that’s the exact opposite of everything you’ve read about cooking steak!
- One of the most amazing facts about beef tenderized with baking soda is that it’s almost impossible to overcook. In fact, even cooked, the inside was still pink!
- Let the brochettes rest for 3 minutes before serving. For added color and visual interest, garnish with a handful of chopped peanuts, cilantro/cilantro, and chopped red pepper (use a large pepper so it doesn’t get too spicy).
And of course, don’t forget the peanut butter
It really is impossible to accurately capture the tenderness of beef in a photo or even a recipe video!
Notice the pink inside the beef, even though it’s medium doneness. This is where the baking soda comes in – the beef stays pink even when cooked medium. This is typical of some types of crazy beef, such as Korean Galbi beef.
What to serve with Thai Beef Satay
Beef satay is often listed as an appetizer in Thai restaurants. However when I do it tends to be part of a main dish. Asian BBQ is my favorite menu theme when I have friends over!
Here are some suggested sides or appetizers:
Thai Fish Cakes – a popular appetizer in Thai restaurants served with sweet chilli sauce;
Thai Lettuce Wraps – Thai version of Chinese lettuce wraps served with delicious lemongrass Flavored chicken or pork
Rice of your choice – Jasmine rice is a traditional rice in Thailand. Nature is great because you’ll have peanut butter on top!
Or, try the Pad Thai or Pineapple Fried Rice;
Choice of salad – the fresh Thai som tam salad is a classic! In the meantime, here are a few other options to choose from: grated cucumber salad with ginger vinaigrette (a personal favorite!); Asian salad; asian salad. Of course, my standard goes to anything Asian, probably Australia’s favorite salad: Chang’s Crispy Noodle Salad (a must for backpacker life!).