Nutty, spicy, saucy, naughty little satay sauce. Ahhh, that classic bed time song everyone’s mother used to sing to them before they go to sleep. Memories……..

Freaky nostalgia aside, this is my take on a classic south-east Asian sauce that we in Australia love to slap on a shish-kebab or toss around a stir fry. I haven’t managed to find a shop that sells good satay in Japan since I’ve been living here, so I thought hey! Why don’t I cook it myself? Hey, Why don’t I use sesame oil instead of peanut? Hey! Why don’t I join a J-pop boy band and tour the country as the silent brooding token white guy?… Well actually that last one isn’t true, there’s never a token white guy in J-pop groups. He’s usually half black!


Anyway, here’s the recipe. Enjoy!





  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove of crushed garlic
  • 1 small chili pepper chopped finely (seeds in if you want more heat)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy/smooth/organic… your choice)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 400 ml coconut milk (1 can).
  • 1 tsp of lemon juice


1: My advice is to get all the mise en place (measurements, chopping and crushing) done before you start so you can just focus on combining the ingredients together.

2: Take your oil and onion and fry it off in a saucepan until the onion is brown but not burnt. Best to do this over a medium heat. Then add in your garlic and chili and stir through.

3: Add in your peanut butter, brown sugar and  kecap manis and stir over heat until all the ingredients are combined.

4: Finally add in your coconut milk and continue stirring over a high heat until  the sauce is boiling. Lower the temperature and allow the sauce to reduce by half. You will need to give the sauce a stir occasionally.

* Each person has their own preference when it comes to taste, so if you like your food spicier, you can add in more chili, if you like it sweeter, you can add in more sugar or kecap manis and so on.

5: After the sauce has reduced and thickened, take it off the heat and allow it to completely cool. Then squeeze in the lemon and mix it through. After that, put the sauce into a jar or air tight container and put it in the fridge. It’s better to make this sauce a day in advance so you give the flavours time to combine and intensify. When you are ready to use it take it out and cover your meat or vegetables with it. Leave them to marinate for a couple of hours or even over night before cooking them.

I grilled up some Satay kebabs with capsicum, eggplant and green onion, and served them with a nice tangy salad of cucumber carrot and daikon radish.




Happy eating!



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