This all-time favorite is part of Singapore's Malay culinary tradition. Here we use beef, but chicken, pork, and lamb are also popular. Satay is usually served with wedges of cucumber and raw onions. Substitute fresh gingerroot for galangal, if you can't find it. Order the Malaysian shrimp paste from MalaysianFood.net.
3 tablespoons (about 1 1/2 ounces) palm sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup water, divided
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh galangal
4 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh lemongrass
4 shallots, coarsely chopped
3 candlenuts or macadamia nuts
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 fresh red chile, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds rib-eye steak, trimmed and cut into (1/4 x 1-inch) strips
Place sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over low heat; cook for 8 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Strain through a fine sieve over a bowl, and discard solids. Cool completely. Combine tamarind paste with remaining 2 tablespoons water, stirring until smooth. Combine sugar mixture and tamarind mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal. Set aside.
Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds; cook for 2 minutes, shaking pan occasionally. Cool. Place mixture in a spice or coffee grinder, and process until finely ground. Place the galangal, lemongrass, shallots, candlenuts, garlic clove, and red chile in a food processor, and process until finely chopped.
Add galangal mixture, coriander mixture, turmeric, and salt to sugar mixture; seal. Knead to combine. Add beef to bag, turning to coat; seal. Marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour, turning twice. Add oil to bag, turning to coat; seal. Marinate in refrigerator overnight, turning occasionally.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Remove beef from bag; discard marinade. Thread beef evenly onto each of 32 (8-inch) skewers. Place skewers on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Cook 1 minute on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with Peanut Dipping Sauce.