The Great Hall
Satay marinades The Great Hall: Satay marinades
By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Sunday, April 17, 2005 - 04:57 pm: Edit

Got another request to do Satays as an appetizer for a wedding in August, and I'm still trying to find a good marinade for both chicken and beef.

The Satays in question are the S.E. Asian style--Malay and Indonasian: The working recipie is taken from several S'porean and Malaysian homestyle cookbooks. What I've got now is a concoction of lemongrass, galangal, tumeric, onion, garlic; toasted fennel, coriander,and cumin; and some sugar and salt thrown in. I've done some trial batches, and it works well with chicken (b'less, s'less thigh meat) but not so well with beef (sirloin tip/ inside round deckel). Traditionaly these Satays are grilled over narrow charcoal braiziers, but I've adapted with searing them on the flat-top and finishing them off in the oven.

The marinade is somewhat watery, I'm at wit's end trying to find some way of grinding up the lemon grass: It'll make through the course die of the meat grinder, but once through, won't go into the smaller dies, and I don't want to risk finally rupturing my much-repaired Robot-coupe with the tough lemon grass strands. Any ideas on how to grind lemongrass easily?

About the marinade, what would happen if I subsituted onion and garlic powder instead of fresh (cutting back on watery ingredients) and steeped everything in oil? Would it penetrate better?

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Sunday, April 17, 2005 - 07:47 pm: Edit

What is your liquid ingredient?? soy? pineapple juice? 1/2 and 1/2 of both?? I would not suggest a thicker marinade....they have a tendency to burn while cooking. Do you serve your satay with a dipping sauce,?, like a spicey peanut dipping or a honey, lime sesame??
as far as the lemon grass I would steep all fresh ingredients in some soy, let cool and marry. to me grindin the grass for satay is too much work, best left to the chive bats and aspic dipped herbs

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 10:13 am: Edit

Yes, but very little soy, basically just the juices from the fresh lemongrass, onions, garlic, and reconsituted galangal.

I've had some very dissapointing experiences in experimenting with pineapple and papaya juices, they turn the meat to mush. I've had better luck with the ol'Jaccarderizer, but even so it's still like trying to turn a Chevy into a Caddilac

Maybe it's the beef--to lean. See, I have a system with top rounds (a.k.a. inside rounds.) I go through a lot of roast beef for s/wiches, so what I do is totaly strip off all fat, remove the deckel or top muscle and the silverskin, then tie on back the fat and roast. If I didn't do this the deckel would end up as slicer dust or in the slicee's mouth. When enough of these deckels accumulate in the freezer, they become specials: stew, stirfry, quesidillas, etc. Lean stuff, no marbeling, maybe that's the problem. Maybe I'll get in whole chuck and try it with that?

I am using peanut sauce now, Crunchy peanut butter, robot-couped peanuts, coconut milk, spicy chilli/garlic sauce, and some of the satay marinade. So far no objections about the sauce from my tasting panel, but they sure complained about the beef...

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 10:32 am: Edit

so what is the main gripe about the beef? Are they saying it is too tough or not enough flavor??

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 05:40 pm: Edit

Both. Although I think the flavour is O.K.. The problem is toughness and transport. This will be only one item of about 7 or so appys, then comes the hot and cold buffet. What I want to do is to sear off the satays earlier in the day, then pop 'em in the oven 1/2 hr before moving out, and locking them in the cambros. The chicken satays can handle this kind of treatment. Cooking them off on the char broiler isn't a good option because they'll fall through the grid.
I've still got a bit of marinade left, so I'll get in some chuck and give it a try. Maybe I'll cut some of the marinade with veg. oil and try that batch out as well.

By Cvincolorado (Cvincolorado) on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 09:02 pm: Edit

What about using ketcap manis(Indonesian sweet soy)instead of regular soy. It is a bit thicker and I have had great luck with it. Or just searing the beef without the marinade and then marinating them. Take them out of juice before popping them in oven. Keep a little fresh marinade on the side to drizzle over them for thier stay in the cambro.

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 01:01 am: Edit

do not use chuck......what is the primary dish chuck is used for?........pot roast. Unless you plan on braising them for a 1/2 hour or so I would not use chuck. the connective tissue in chuck usually toughens in short cooking procedures, even with a long marinade. Are you leaning toward chuck cause of food cost?? What about using skirt? the connective tissue is usually takin care of with the marinade, unlike chuck. Or dare I suggest using strip lion!? nice marbeling, good flavor.......but higher cost.....worth trying to rid yourself of the complaints?? Do you do many parties with tenderloins? do you break them down yourself for the filet?

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 09:47 am: Edit

Hmm, tenderloin chain...something to think about. I guess I started off on Chuck because it is somewhat fatty, or at least it has more marbeling than the top round deckel. The chicken satays were juicy because I used leg meat, which is fatty. Strip loin might be another way to go as well.

I don't go through much filet, but the striploin might be worth trying out. If I can keep the meat to under an ounce per stick I'll come out O.K. even with the extensive marinade and extra labour skewering and grilling

I also think Ketcap manis might be worth trying out too, no shortage of Asian food markets around here.
Thanks for the input, I'll let you kow what happens at the next "tasting panel"...

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 12:01 pm: Edit

the way to keep it under an ounce i reckon would be to slice thin and skewer like in the pu pu platters.

By Santamuerte (Santamuerte) on Wednesday, April 20, 2005 - 10:23 pm: Edit

FP, these se-asian pastes and marinades are made at home in a mortar, and commercially with very heavy duty equipment.

lemon grass will work the ba**s off the robot coupe, so use only the white portions that are less fibrous. leftovers can be added to broths etc, and strained out. ditto for fresh galangal and lime leaf.

i bash up the fibrous stuff to a coarse grind, steep the mash with boiling water, and squeeze it hard through cheesecloth. (a cheesecloth-lined ricer works for small batches, btw.) then you don't get any grit in the marinade, and you don't have to fuss with it much either. it goes pretty fast that way.

things that will add body are: pureed chilis; garlic / onion powder; pureed garlic; dried, caramelized shallots (a very common ingredient); any spice powders (i like cardamom, and would lose the cumin except for maybe a vague hint); and most of all, tamarind paste (way better than lemon or lime juice to acidify as it thickens very well).

use skirt steak for your beef skewers: not to pricey, plenty of fat, and pleasantly chewy (as opposed to tough).

here's my recipe:

lemon grass, galangal, and lime leaf bashed up and steeped/strained, leaving the grit behind. pureed fresh garlic, pulverized dried caramelized shallots (available from asian ingr suppliers), pulverized dried shrimps, pureed fresh jalapenos, vietnamese fish sauce (go easy -- very salty), lime zest, tamarind paste, corriander root, ground corriander seed, ground cardamom. you play with the ratios ;-)

if it's not hot enough, add some sirracha. i usually don't add salt or soy sauce; the fish sauce makes it salty enough, and soy sauce is just wrong. if you want to go hardcore, omit the fish sauce and add asian shrimp paste instead. it will run most people out of the kitchen tho, lol.

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Thursday, April 21, 2005 - 07:53 pm: Edit

Oho, another voice from the wilderness who has been threatened with all sorts of violence if he uses Blachan (a.k.a. shrimp paste)in the kitchen... I finally settled for Phillipine fish sauce, never actually tried the Vietnamese stuff yet. For fire power I like to use chipolte complete with adabo. Thanks for the tip on cumin, never really thought it fit, even after toasting, you got me really thinking about what kind of notes cardamon will bring.

True, I've got all that other stuff like garlic and carmelized shallots to add body to the marinade, but I think I might try this: Put the tamarind, sugar, water, ground-up lemongrass and the spices into a pot with a handfull of Thai rice, bring it to a boil, and simmer until the rice turned to congee. Then set a large finemesh chinacap over a pot and dump the contents into the chinacap, weight it down with a 100 oz can overnight in the walk-in. Next day, I'd add the rest of the witch's brew the strained portion. This system of binding with the rice works well for me with Thai type salad dressings and gives me bragging rights for "Fat free/oilfree"

Skirt steak, hmm yeah, worth a try. Next panel tasting is the first week of May. Should give enough time to work it all out. Thanks.

By Santamuerte (Santamuerte) on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - 10:54 pm: Edit

let us know what you finally settle on. inquiring minds, etc ;-)

and yes, i nearly had a mutiny on my hands the first time i experimented with shrimp paste, lol.

btw, i was a bit surprised by the rice thing. wouldn't rice/potato/corn starch or even rice flour be way quicker and less trouble? have you found a disadvantage in using the more refined starches?

By Chefgibz0 (Chefgibz0) on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - 11:39 pm: Edit

O.k. educate me guys...I am familar with the various asian fish and oyster sauces but never came across shrimp paste.....what is it good in and used for.......and what is this whole mutiny about using it for...asume the odor??

By Foodpump (Foodpump) on Thursday, April 28, 2005 - 09:05 am: Edit

Santamuerte: Have trouble with cornstarch and other starches as it has to have heat applied or the starch will settle down to a sludge again. Since I have to extract flavour from the lemongrass with a coldstart/simmer method, the rice fits neatly into the scheme of things.

Chefgibzo: Shrimp paste, a.k.a. Blachan is exactly that, a butter sized block of crumbly brown prawn protein. As such, it doesn't smell, but it has to be sauted in oil, usually in a wok, to release the flavour. And it stinks, something like only dried seafood can. You'll find this stuff in Malaysian and Indonasian cuisines. It has tremendous depth of flavour, though. Almost makes it worth the hassle...

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