Pork Satay with perfect peanut sauce

During the warmer spring months my family loves to spend time outdoors for various activities, especially grilling. Pork satay is a family favorite. I get my butcher to slice the meat as super thin as possible,then, once marinated,skewer the meat onto presoaked bamboo skewers and grill on a really hot flame of about 500*F. As you can see the family really loves slightly charred ,crisp satay, but you could easily flip them more frequently and,perhaps lower the heat if you prefer a less charred  satay. This recipe works on all kinds of meat, so do not feel compelled to use pork.

Serves 4

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Adapted from Su-Mei-Yu

1 tbsp dry roasted cumin seed,ground

1 tbsp dry roasted coriander seed,ground

1 tsp dry roasted white pepper,ground

1 stalk lemongrass,green parts and hard outer leaves removed, minced

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup fresh unsweetened coconut cream

1  1/2 lbs meat of your choice,sliced super thin,then cut into strips

Bamboo skewers soaked in water

one 6 oz can pineapple juice

Vegetable oil spray

Perfect peanut sauce, for serving (recipe found on http://www.dolcedente.com)

In a medium bowl combine spices,salt,lemongrass and coconut cream,stir to blend. Add meat and stir to coat . Cover well and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature prior to grilling.

Thread meat onto skewers, place on a platter as you fire up the grill.

Dip each meat skewer into the can of pineapple juice, then spray the meat generously with vegetable spray . Lay the skewers close to one another, to keep the meat moist, on the grill and cook,turning frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, until well done.

Serve alongside Perfect peanut sauce


Spicy Kheema puffs

 in Hindi Kheema can be any type of minced or ground meat, so I have used minced lamb, but have prepared the same puffs using chicken or even turkey . Once the filling is prepared and cooled it is filled into store-bought puff pastry. this is delicious served for high tea or even a light sunday dinner.The great this is the puffs can be assembled and refrigerated until ready to bake.

12 puffs

Photograph by rahul Mahtani

1 lb ground lamb or any ground meat of your choice

2 tsp vegetable or canola oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 ” fresh ginger root , minced

4 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp each ground coriander and cumin seed

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp red chili powder

a small bunch fresh mint , finely chopped

salt to taste

Heat oil and saute onion with salt on medium heat till soft and lightly brown.Add ginger and garlic, fry for 1 more minute.

Stir in the tomato paste and fry for 1 minute.

Stir in all the spices and fry for 30 seconds.

Add in the minced meat and fry, breaking up the lumps . Keep frying till the meat is well browned and the oil separates to the sides. Stir in the mint. Tilt the pan so that any excess fat is easy to pour off into a separate bowl,discard this. Allow the meat to cool.

Preheat oven to 425*F

Roll out puff pastry sheet and cut desired shape . Place meat filling in the center of the pastry and brush edges with egg wash. Fold over and press to seal. With the tines of a fork make a design on the border,this will ensure the pastry is well sealed.

Make slight slits in the top to allow excess air to escape.Brush tops with egg wash and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.Serve immediately.

Mom Leuang Neuang’s Famous Satay

I have no idea who Leuang Neuang is , or who’s mother she is , but , lucky for all she has a fabulous Satay recipe , courtesy of David Thompson . This recipe can be prepared with chicken or pork , both works really well and served with a chilli and shallot sauce or , more traditionally peanut sauce .

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

 David Thompson
6 oz Pork or chicken
1/2 cup coconut cream ( I like Savoy brand)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbs condensed milk
1 tbs palm sugar
pinch of white sugar
2 tbs fish sauce
a little Thai whisky – Mekong or Santip or Burbon
12 to 16 bamboo skewers , soaked in water for 1 hour

4 tbs chopped red shallot
pinch of salt
3 tbs ground roasted peanuts
1 tbs coriander seeds , roasted
1 tsp cumin seed , roasted

5 to 6 long chillies , deseeded and rinsed
Pinch of salt
3 red shallots , peeled and chopped
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 to 2 tbs superfine sugar

First make the paste : gradually pound the ingredients together using a pestle and a mortar, adding one by one , until smooth ( I use a mini food processor ).
Cut meat into strips about 2 “x1” .
Mix paste with Coconut cream ,turmeric , condensed milk , both sugars , fish sauce and whisky , and work this marinade into the meat until absorbed . Put aside for a few hours .

Puree chillies and salt with shallots . Season with vinegar and sugar to taste: the sauce should be sweet , sour , hot and salty.
Thread 3 pieces of meat onto each bamboo skewer , pushing down tightly . Repeat until all meat is used . Grill over charcoal, sprinkling the satays with any excess marinade as they cook . Serve with a bowl of sauce on the side.

Mushroom Satay

Mushrooms , of all kinds , make great satays . They absorb marinades well , and are great on skewers , the meaning of satay. The satays should be oiled while grilled , to ensure a tender inside and a crisp outside. Serve with peanut sauce or Chili sweet soy sauce , both recipes posted on this site .

Serves 6

Chat  Mingkwan

2 lbs assorted mushrooms (portobello , shiitake and button )

1 package bamboo skewers

1/4 cup finely minced lemongrass , tender midsection only

3 tbs finely minced garlic

3 tbs finely minced fresh ginger

3 tbs finely minced green onions

1 tbs pepper

1 tsp salt

vegetable oil , as needed

Slice the large mushrooms into long strips about 1/2 inch thick . Leave the small mushrooms whole . Skewer the mushrooms horizontally with the bamboo sticks .

To make an herb rub , combine lemongrass , garlic , ginger , green onions , pepper and salt in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor until well blended . Rub the herb mixture over the mushrooms , making sure all surfaces are well covered.

Arrange the skewered mushrooms on a tray , stacking the skewers on top of each other . Sprinkle lightly with the oil . Cover the mushrooms with plastic wrap and refridgerate them overnight .If you are in a hurry , you can marinate them for 1 hour at room temperature .

About 30 minutes before you are ready to serve the mushrooms , light a charcoal grill .When it reaches medium heat , grill the mushrooms 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until they are tender . If the mushrooms seem dry , brush them occasionally with oil

Serve hot with peanut sauce or Chili Sweet Soy .


These delicious bean ” dumplings ” are popular with all my friends and family . They are wholesome and nutritious and can be servedin a pita with hummus or baba ghanouj and a tomato and cucumber salad . Typically falafel are made with large broad beans , sold as skinned in Middle eastern stores , but I often revert to all chickpeas or a combination , as chickpeas are so widely available .

Serves 10

Claudia Roden

1 lb dried ( skinless ) split broad beans , soaked in cold water for 24 hours

salt and pepper

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

good pinch of ground chili pepper or cayenne

1 tsp baking soda or baking powder

1 large onion , very finely chopped or grated

5 scallions , very finely chopped

6 cloves garlic , crushed

2/3  cup  finely chopped flat leaf parsley

2/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

sunflower or light vegetable oil for deep frying

The long soaking  of the beans to soften is all -important . After soaking , drain the beans very well and let them dry out a little on a towel . Then put them in a food processor and process until they form a paste ., adding salt and pepper , cumin , coriander , chili powder and baking soda or powder ( these last two release carbon -dioxide gas , which causes the paste to rise slightly and lighten ).. The paste must be so smooth and soft so it will hold together when you fry . Let it rest for at least 1/2 an hour .

Add the rest of the ingredients , except the oil. If you have chopped the onion in the food processor , strain to get rid of the juice , or the rissoles could fall apart when you fry them .

Knead the mixture with well your hands. Take small lumps and make flat , round shapes 2 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch thick . Let them rest 15 minutes .

Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy pot until sizzling hot . Fry the patties in batches , without crowding them , until crisp and brown , turning them once over . Lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels .

Serve hot .

Mushrooms in Volcanic black pepper sauce

What a great presentation these mushrooms make . i like to serve them as an appetizer with the sauce on the side . The mushrooms ( of your choice , I like baby bellas ) are grilled and just as they are done , brushed with some of the sauce and served . Careful not to brush on the sauce too early as the peppercorns burn very easily.

Adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor

serves 8

1/4 cup black peppercorns , try to use Tillicherry they are most flavorful

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 medium onions , sliced

30 cloves garlic , sliced

4 one inch pieces ginger , sliced

3/4 cup vegetarian oyster sauce

1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs Rice wine vinegar

5 tsp sugar

3 tbs dark soy sauce

3 1/2 tsp salt

16 medium button mushrooms

1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

Crush the black peppercorns in a spice grinder . Heat oil in a pan , add onions and saute for a minute . Add ginger and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add crushed peppercorns and continue to saute for 2 minutes . Add vegetarian oyster sauce and ketchup and mix. Add vinegar , sugar , dark soy sauce and salt and stir. Stir over low flame till sauce is thick enough to lightly coat mushrooms .  Blend in blender till smooth . Set aside.

String the mushrooms on to toothpicks and place them on a preheated grill pan . Sprinkle on lemon juice then salt and continue grilling . Sprinkle some water on the mushrooms and grill until almost done . Lightly brush on some sauce onto the mushrooms , cook for a minute more . Serve hot with the extra sauce on the side .




New york times magazine Falafel

Falafel are a treasure exported from North Africa , and sold  as street fare all over New York city . These fried,  crisp , crunchy morsels take some planning ahead , but , honestly are worth all the time and effort .

New york Times Magazine

Makes 32

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

3 cups chickpeas      1/2 cup plus 1 tbs bulgar

3 medium yellow onions , roughly chopped

15 cloves garlic , peeled

3 tbs whole cumin seed

3 tbs whole coriander seed

1 tbs whole black peppercorns

1 tbs kosher salt , plus more to taste

3 tbs finely chopped mint

3 tbs finely chopped cilantro

3 tbs finely chopped parsley

3 tbs white sesame seeds

3 tbs baking soda

1 to 2 quarts canola oil

Place the chickpeas and bulgur each in a bowl and add water to cover by 2 inches . Cover and soak overnight.Drain well and grind through the small dye of a meat grinder into a large bowl set under a fine mesh strainer . Press on the onions to release the excess juice. Discard the juices then add the onions to the chickpea mixture . ( I use a food processor , careful not to OVERPROCESS )

In a small skillet over medium heat , toast the cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant . Transfer to a spice grinder, add the peppercorns and grind to a powder. Transfer the spices to the chickpea mixture , along with the salt , mint , cilantro , parsley and sesame seeds . Stir to combine . Mix in the baking soda and let stand for 30 minutes . season to taste with salt .

Heat a medium pot filled 2 inches with canola oil to 350*F. Using your hands , shape the chickpea mixture into 2 inch balls . Fry in batches for 3 minutes or until dark brown and cooked through.

Serve with Hummus , raita and Pita bread