MAKES 32 SKEWERS, SERVES ABOUT 8 AS AN APPETIZER
To me, the perfect street eat is something that you can hold in one hand, and meat-on-a-stick, or satay, certainly fits the bill. Though you’ll find a variety of meats in night markets (lamb is popular in Beijing, while offal like chicken hearts and livers is prized in Japanese yakitori), traditional satay is made with either chicken or beef. This one is based on an Indonesian recipe, and features charred yet tender steak, made even more mouthwatering when dipped in a nutty, creamy sauce. For the authentic street food flavor, a charcoal grill is best, but a gas grill or even an indoor stovetop grill pan works, too.
FOR THE MEAT SKEWERS:
1½ pounds rump roast steak
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons honey
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
FOR THE PEANUT SAUCE:
½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts
½ cup shallots, chopped
1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh red Thai chile, seeded and stemmed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoons fish sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Lime wedges, for serving
PREPARE THE BEEF: Cut the meat into 1⁄₈-inch-thick strips, each about 1 inch wide and 6 inches long. (Freezing the meat for about 15 minutes beforehand will make it easier to slice.)
In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, coriander, and cumin. Add the steak strips and toss to coat in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to a day.
MAKE THE SAUCE: Using a mortar and pestle (or a food processor), pound the peanuts until coarsely chopped; then transfer them to a small bowl and set aside. Pound the shallots, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and chile together with the mortar and pestle or add to the food processor and pulse until coarsely blended.
Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot. Add the shallot mixture and stir-fry until it is browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the coarsely ground peanuts, coconut milk, honey, fish sauce, and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, soak 32 six-inch wooden skewers in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes.
Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the marinade. Thread each slice of marinated meat onto a skewer so that it is undulating like a ribbon. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a grill and oil the grate. Grill the satay in batches until the beef is just medium-rare, about 2 minutes on each side. Serve with the sauce for dipping and the lime wedges for squeezing over each skewer.