Thai Shrimp Satay with Peanut Sauce (สะเต๊ะกุ้ง)
Satay is probably one of the most popular Thai dishes in the US (even though it's origins are in Indonesia). While typically made with chicken or pork, our version uses shrimp (because, um ... we sell seafood). In addition, while the protein is usually grilled, we've tweaked our recipe to a stove-top version to account for the fact most folks have put their grills away for the winter.
Ingredients (4 servings)
1 lb Shrimp (shelled and deveined)
1/2 cup neutral oil (see Notes)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Onion, chopped (you can use White or Yellow, or Red for an extra kick)
1-3 Thai Chilies, minced (depending on your heat tolerance; substitute Jalapeño, Serano, or Fresno)
3-4 Kaffir Lime Leaves, finely julienned
1/2-1 tsp Curry Powder
1 Tbl finely minced Lemon Grass (see Notes)
1.5 cups Coconut Milk (see Notes)
1 3" Cinnamon Stick
3 Bay Leaves
2 tsp Tamarind Paste
1-3 Tbl Fish Sauce, depending on taste (see Notes)
3 Tbl Dark Brown Sugar
3 Tbl Lemon or Lime Juice (depending on preference)
1 cup Chunky Peanut Butter
3 cups Water
1-2 cups Cabbage (regular or Napa; we prefer the latter)
Tomato wedges to garnish
Heat oil in large skillet, sauce pan, or wok (we prefer the wok because of the depth) on medium-high heat.
Sauté garlic, onion, chilies, Kaffir Lime leave, curry powder, and lemon grass until fragrant and translucent, about 2-3 mins.
Stir in coconut milk, cinnamon, bay leaves, tamarind, fish sauce, brown sugar, lemon/lime juice, and peanut butter. Mix well.
Reduce heat and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and scorching, until sauce thickens -- about 30 mins.
Add shrimp and cook just slightly through (there's nothing worse than rubbery, overcooked shrimp).
Place chopped cabbage on plates, top with shrimp and sauce, garish with tomato wedges, and serve.
You can use any neutral flavored oil, although we prefer using peanut oil plus it fits with the flavor profile.
Cut the root end off the lemon grass, and the green part. Remove the tough outer layer or two, and use a hammer, pestle, or similar to pound the remaining white portion to break up the fibers. Then mince finely.
When choosing a coconut milk, please check to make sure you pick a brand that does not use captive monkeys to climb the trees and pick the coconuts. Chaokoh, a widely-sold brand in the US, is an especially egregious example of companies that use cruel methods to harvest the fruits. It only takes a minute to check your brand online on your phone.
Not all fish sauces are created equal. You want to pick a fish sauce -- whether Thai or Vietnamese -- that has the fewest ingredients. The label should simply list fish (not fish extract) and salt. A good fish sauce may also say "first press" on the label. We love Red Boat brand, but there are several others that are equally as good.