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Satay Pentul

David Burton writes: “In the kitchen of a family comopund in Bali, I watched the grandfather of the house spend two laborious hours pounding raw chicken meat to a paste. First the old man took a tomahawk and used the blunt end to bash the meat, handful after handful, by which time you might have thought every fibre and tendon had been obliterated. But no, he transferred it to an oversized wooden mortar, took a pole which served as the pestle, and pummeled it for another full hour. After mixing in various spices and condiments, he then twirled the paste around large bamboo skewers and got his nephew to grill it, the result being a delicious Balinese variation on satay known as satay pentul.”





Steep the tamarind paste in the water for five minutes. Strain. Toast the coriander seeds in a hot, ungreased skillet. In a mortar or food processer, blend the garlic, coriander, ginger, and sambal oelek together into a paste. Turn this into a bowl, add all the remaining ingredients, and blend everything thoroughly into a sticky mass. Put the bowl into the refrigerator and let the contents cool and firm for at least an hour. Then form a golf-ball-size amount of the paste around each skewer in the shape of a miniature hot dog. Grill over hot coals, turning often, until satays are dotted all over with crusty brown spots. Serve them with peanut sauce number three and/or sambal kecap.


Ordinary bamboo skewers don’t have enough surface to hold the meat mixture fast. Look for stubbier skewers (about the thickness of a pencil) or use plain wooden chopsticks. (The mixture can also be shaped into patties and grilled like hamburgers.)


This recipe was provided by John Thorne and Matt Lewis from Northhampton