Beef Satay (Neua Satay)

Satay is ubiquitous in Thailand—you can find it as street food, or even as an appetizer in a sit-down restaurant. When I was a kid, we frequented a neighborhood restaurant that sold mostly noodles, but the satay and peanut sauce was their specialty appetizer. The satay was always the highlight of the meal for me, more so than the noodles! While most satays in Thailand are made from pork nowadays, the original satay came to Thailand as beef, because it originated from Indonesia, a primarily Muslim country that does not eat much pork. This slowly changed to pork because in Thailand pork is more accessible. Our satay is always served with white toast and ajaad, a quick cucumber pickle that serves as a crunchy, fresh and acidic element to balance the richness of the peanut sauce. The toast is there to sop up any extra peanut sauce left at the end, and it’s my favourite part of satay!
Yield 4 Servings Prep. Time 35 min Marinating Time 60 min Cooking Time 75 min Total Time 170 min


Here are the following ingredients:


  • 1 lb (500 g) Beef Top Sirloin Grilling Steak
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) coconut milk
  • Twelve to fourteen 6-inch (15 cm) bamboo skewers
  • 4 slices white bread


  • 1½ tsp (7 mL) coriander seeds, toasted
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cumin seeds, toasted
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) thinly sliced lemongrass (bottom part only)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped galangal (optional)
  • 1-inch (2.5 cm) piece fresh turmeric (or ½ tsp/2 mL ground turmeric)
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) brown sugar
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup (150 mL) coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) white vinegar

Peanut Sauce

  • ½ cup (150 mL) roasted peanuts
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1¼ cups (300 mL) coconut milk, divided
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped palm sugar or brown sugar (approx)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 mL) tamarind paste
  • 1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10 mL) fish sauce


  • ½ cup (125 mL) white vinegar
  • ¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
  • ⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) salt
  • ½ cup (125 mL) sliced quartered cucumber
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) thinly sliced shallot
  • 8 to 10 slices Thai chili peppers or jalapeños

Shopping List

Here are the following shopping items to buy:


Follow these cooking methods/directions: Cut the beef across the grain into ¼-inch (0.5 cm) thick slices, then cut each slice crosswise into small, bite-sized pieces. Place in a bowl and set aside.


Grind coriander seeds, cumin seeds and black peppercorns using a mortar and pestle until very fine. Add lemongrass, galangal (if using) and fresh turmeric (if using); pound into a fine paste. Add ground turmeric (if using), brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, coconut milk and vinegar; stir to mix well. Pour marinade over beef and massage it with your hands, making sure that no pieces of meat are stuck together. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Meanwhile, soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

Peanut Sauce

Meanwhile, grind peanuts and sesame seeds in a food processor or using a mortar and pestle into a fine meal, being careful not to over grind them into nut butter. Set aside. Bring ¼ cup (60 mL) of the coconut milk to a boil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in red curry paste, mixing well. Simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring, until it is very thick and coconut oil starts to separate from the paste. Stir in remaining coconut milk, ground peanuts and sesame seeds, palm sugar, 2 tbsp (30 mL) tamarind paste and 1 tsp (5 mL) fish sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened into a dip-like consistency. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with more sugar, fish sauce and tamarind paste as needed. Set aside.


Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring, just until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely.  Remove beef from marinade; discard marinade. Skewer 3 pieces of beef onto each of the soaked skewers, making sure the skewer goes through the beef so the bamboo isn’t exposed and making sure tip of the skewer also is covered with beef. Place flat on a plate.  Just before cooking the skewers, combine cucumber, shallot and chilies in a small bowl, then pour in cooled vinegar mixture over to make the Ajaad. Let stand for up to 10 minutes at the most. Cut 2 pieces of foil, each 8 inches (20 cm) wide. Fold each in half lengthwise so that you have a long rectangle about 4 inches (10 cm) wide. Place onto the grill to act as guards to prevent the handles of the skewers from burning. Brush the top side of skewers with coconut milk. Place the brushed side down on an oiled preheated grill over medium heat (350°F/180°C) with the handle of skewers resting on foil. Grill for about 1 minute or until grill marked while brushing the top side of the skewers with remaining coconut milk. Flip the skewers and grill for about 2 to 3 minutes or until cooked to medium-rare at the least (145°F/63°C). Meanwhile, if you have space on the grill, grill bread until toasted on both sides or transfer skewers to a clean plate and grill bread. Serve the Satay on a platter alongside the Peanut Sauce, Ajaad and toast.