Indonesian Pork Satays


Indonesia has the biggest muslim population in the world. The Koran forbids the consumption of pork. Yet ironically some of the most delicious pork dishes come from Indonesian Chinese restaurants and pork satays, “sate babi”, are definitely one of them. The key to this dish is using freshly ground toasted coriander seeds. Beware! This recipe is for the patient.


  • 1 1/2 lb of pork butt, cut into thumb size cubes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup kecap manis
  • 1 thumb of ginger
  • 1 thumb of galangal root
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 1/4 cup canola oil


  1. Toast coriander seeds in pan over medium flame. Swirl the seeds while toasting to prevent burning. Grind to powder in a coffee grinder or use a pestle and mortar.
  2. Repeat step 1 for cumin seeds.
  3. Place ginger, lemongrass, galangal root, a bit of water in food processor and blend until completely smooth and fibers cannot be seen.
  4. Combine all ingredients with pork in glass bowl and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge to marinate overnight.
  5. Soak bamboo skewers in water overnight to prevent them from burning on the grill.
  6. Piece together 4-5 cubes of pork using bamboo skewers. Do not cram but space pieces evenly apart to ensure pork gets cooked thoroughly.
  7. Grill over BBQ
  8. If BBQ grill is unavailable, use the oven broil function and cook for about 7 mins each side.




  • 4-5 gloves of minced garlic
  • 2-3 chopped fresh chili padi
  • 2 Tbsp of chopped cilantro root
  • 1 Tbsp of butter
  • 4-5 Tbsp of kecap manis
  • 3 Tbsp of water


  1. Heat butter in sauce pan.
  2. Stir fry minced garlic, chili padi and chopped cilantro root till fragrant.
  3. Lower heat, add kecap manis and water.
  4. Cook till sauce bubbles, careful not to burn the sugars in the sauce. Turn off heat and drizzle over satays.


Cook’s Note:

I have tried unsuccessfully to use pork butt from Whole Foods that is hormone and antibiotic free but the resulting pork was so gamey tasting that I had to switch back. This is an instance where the less we know the better. Do not use fresh garlic or onions as it may burn over the grill and turn bitter. Use garlic and onion powder instead.

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