Lamb Satay – Indonesian Style

Prep: 1 week

Cook: 10 minutes

Serves: 2

This recipe is from Su-Mei Yu’s newest cookbook, Asian Grilling: Kababs, Skewers, Satays and Other Asian Inspired Recipes for your Barbecue. Top sirloin or London broil can be substituted for the lamb. Serve with Indonesia Peanut Sauce and/or Thai Sweet Pepper Sauce and Cucumber Relish, Indonesian Style.


Marinade (makes ½ cup)

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp sea salt

4 garlic cloves, minced (2 Tbsp)

1 tsp minced ginger

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp turmeric powder

2 shallots, minced (¼ cup)

2 Tbsp unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, ground

¼ cup tamarind juice

1 Tbsp vegetable oil (add only when using a blender)

Satay (makes 16 to 18 skewers)

1 pound boneless leg of lamb, top sirloin beef, or London broil

½ cup marinade

16 to 18 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes, then dried

1, 3 ounce can pineapple juice

Vegetable oil spray


  1. Put the coriander seeds and cumin seeds in a skillet and dry-roast, one at a time, over medium-high heat. Slide the skillet back and forth over the burner to prevent burning. When the spice exudes a pleasant aroma, about 1 minute, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool.
  2. To make the marinade, pound the salt and garlic in a mortar and with a pestle into a paste. Add the ginger, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cayenne, turmeric, shallots and peanuts one at a time, and only after the previous ingredients have been incorporated into the paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the tamarind juice. Mix well. Set aside.
  3. If using a blender, add all the ingredients including the oil and puree into a paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl and set aside. Store the marinade in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate, it will keep for a week.
  4. Diagonally, slice the lamb across the grain into strips, approximately 1/10-inch wide, or as thin as possible. Add to the bowl with the marinade. Mix well, coating the lamb thoroughly. Cover and let sit for an hour or for best result, transfer to a zippered plastic bag and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Mound the charcoals onto one side inside the grill, leaving the other side empty. Heat the grill and while waiting for it to get hot, thread 4 to 5 pieces of the lamb onto a bamboo skewer into a tight bundle, covering 5 inches of the skewer. Repeat with the remaining meat. Add the pineapple juice to the bowl of leftover marinade and mix well. Set aside.
  6. Spray the meat generously with the vegetable oil. Lay the skewer with the meat portion on the rack directly on the hot coals at medium-high heat. Line the skewers tightly close to each another. Brush lightly and frequently with the marinade and pineapple juice mixture. Turn frequently and grill until medium rare, about 3 to 4 minutes and for well done, about 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve piping hot.

Copywrite Su-Mei Yu author of Asian Grilling, William Morrow, 2002