Satay-style sauce is the perfect way to liven up any vegetable-based dish – and these quick dishes make for tasty weeknight dinners.
We’re always on the hunt for more ways to incorporate peanut butter into our diets. Deliciously toasty and packed with protein, it’s the do-it-all cupboard staple we’re never without. Smeared on bagels, dolloped into porridge, even swirled into brownies – we’ve tried it all.
Now, though, we’re turning our attention to the savoury arena – and if you love peanut butter, there are few things more delicious than the rich-yet-zesty flavour of satay. Traditionally a street food dish served in countries across Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, classic satay is marinated, skewered and grilled meat that’s served with a rich peanut dipping sauce. Recipes vary across cuisines, but ingredients like lime juice, tamarind, and rice vinegar are all commonly added to give the sauce its signature tang.
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Thought to originate from the Middle Eastern kebab (although it’s now considered an Indonesian staple), satay is often made as a chicken dish – but there’s a whole world of vegetarian versions we can’t wait to try.
Below, you’ll find three standout recipes that pay homage to satay, each with its own twist on the classic recipe.
If a stir fry is your default quick-and-easy dinner, try updating your usual recipe with this peanut-y vegan version by Katy Beskow. Fresh vegetables (think carrot, corn and sugar snaps) are flash-fried to maintain their naturally crunchy texture, and tossed in a three-ingredient satay sauce. Deliciously savoury and gratifyingly quick to put together, Beskow recommends you add lots of cavolo nero for an added hit of iron-rich greenery.
While we’re on the topic of green veg, if you’re looking for a versatile side dish, go for the satay-style purple sprouting broccoli, courtesy of chef Kwoklyn Wan. Tender broccoli stems are gently steamed, then coated with a peanut butter-based sauce and sprinkled with toasty sesame seeds for extra texture. Dial up the heat with optional chilli flakes and serve with almost anything. Consider our vegetables suitably perked up.
Finally, if you fancy giving satay a go but prefer almond butter to PB, Marcus Bawdon’s aubergine skewers are for you. The recipe combines creamy coconut milk and sweet chilli sauce for a moreish marinade-slash-dip that makes the dream companion for smoky grilled aubergine.
Best of all, these skewers can be made on an indoor or outdoor grill. Your repertoire of surprising barbecue dishes just got one recipe longer…
Katy Beskow’s speedy satay stir-fry
Katy says: “Quicker than a delivery, and a lot cheaper too, this satay stir-fry will hit the spot with a smooth peanut sauce, red chilli and crisp vegetables. Serve over simple steamed rice, or throw in some egg-free noodles while cooking the vegetables in a wok.”
For the stir-fry:
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 medium courgette, sliced into fine matchsticks
- 6 sugar snap peas, sliced diagonally
- 6 baby corns, sliced diagonally
- 4 leaves of cavolo nero, roughly chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp salted peanuts, roughly chopped
- juice of ½ unwaxed lime
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped
- small handful of coriander, roughly torn
For the satay sauce:
- 2 heaped tbsp smooth peanut butter
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat. Throw in the carrot, courgette, sugar snap peas, baby corns and cavolo nero, then stir-fry for 3–4 minutes. Stir in the chilli and peanuts and cook for 1 further minute.
Meanwhile, put the peanut butter and soy sauce into a jug, then pour in 200ml hot water. Use a balloon whisk to mix until combined.
Pour the peanut sauce into the wok and stir through for 1–2 minutes, making sure all of the vegetables are coated.
Remove the wok from the heat and squeeze over the lime juice. Scatter over the spring onions and coriander. Serve hot.
Take-out tip: No cavolo nero available? Savoy cabbage or kale make excellent substitutes.
From Vegan Fakeaway: Plant-Based Takeaway Classics For The Ultimate Night In by Katy Beskow (£15, Quadrille), out now
Kwoklyn Wan’s purple sprouting broccoli and peanut satay sauce
Kwoklyn says: “Satay sauce varies from region to region; it originates from Indonesia but was widely adopted by the Chinese for their love of peanuts – this sauce has lots of them. Young tender broccoli stems are lightly steamed and smothered in a rich, spicy–sour peanut sauce. Delicious simplicity on your plate.”
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
- 3 tbsp chunky peanut butter
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
- 280g purple sprouting broccoli
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan or wok over a medium heat until lightly golden and fragrant.
Combine the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce and chilli flakes (if using) in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring until warmed and completely combined.
Trim the broccoli stems and cut them into bite-sized pieces, then place in a steamer basket and steam for 4–5 minutes, or until tender.
Remove the broccoli from the steamer and arrange on a serving plate, then pour over the satay sauce and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.
From The Veggie Chinese Takeaway Cookbook: Over 70 Vegan And Vegetarian Takeaway Classics by Kwoklyn Wan (£15, Quadrille), out now
Marcus Bawdon’s aubergine satay with spicy almond dipping sauce
Marcus says: “I could easily have opted for a chicken satay skewer recipe as it’s a classic, but I wanted to do something a bit different with the nutty sauce that usually accompanies the chicken, so I decided to experiment with a ‘meaty’ miso-marinated aubergine. The results blew me away, so I knew I had to include this recipe in my book Skewered.”
- 1 aubergine
- 1 tsp white or red miso paste
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- freshly squeezed juice of ½ a lime
- ½ tsp mild chilli flakes
- sea salt and black pepper
For the spicy almond dipping sauce:
- 4 tsp almond butter
- 2 tbsp coconut milk (scoop out the creamy part at the top of the can)
- freshly squeezed juice of ½ a lime
- 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- pinch each of sea salt and chilli flakes
- pre-soaked small wooden skewers
Cut the aubergine into 2–3cm cubes.
In a bowl mix together the miso paste, honey, soy sauce, lime juice, chilli flakes and salt and pepper. Add the aubergine chunks and leave to marinate in fridge for an hour or two.
Set your grill up for moderate heat grilling.
Make up the spicy almond dipping sauce by thoroughly combining the ingredients.
Place the marinated aubergine cubes onto soaked wooden skewers, 3 cubes on each.
Grill the skewers for a few minutes, then turn occasionally every couple of minutes to build up a nice medium char. The aubergine should start to soften (but don’t let it go too soft or the cubes will fall off the skewer). Total cooking time should be 10–12 minutes.
Drizzle with a little of the spicy almond dipping sauce, and place a little sauce by the side to dip the skewers in.
Serve with jasmine rice and freshly chopped coriander, if liked.
From Skewered: Recipes For Fire Food On Sticks From Around The World by Marcus Bawdon (£16.99, Dog ‘n’ Bone), out now
Photography: © Luke Albert; © Sam Folan; Marcus Bawdon © Dog ‘n’ Bone