Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Thai pork satay with peanut sauce (Σουβλάκια σατέ με σάλτσα φυστικοβούτηρου)

When you cook most of your meals from scratch, you will often find yourself cooking on automaton when you are trying to feed your family. Inspiration comes from many sources, but the tried and tested recipes are the easiest to deal with, and you know what to expect from them. It's a little more difficult to be inspired to cook something new and untried, especially when children are involved. But as they grow older, they are more open to new tastes, which has helped me a lot in my desire to cook a wider range of meals at home.

 Ασιατικά σουβλάκια (σατέ): αντί το συνηθισμένο ρίγανι και αλατοπίπερο με λεμόνι ή κρασί, βάλετε τα σουβλάκια σε μαρινάρισμα που περιέχει 1 κρεμμύδι, 2-3 ασκελίδες σκόρδο, 1 κουταλάκι από το καθένα κόλιανδρο, κύμινο, κουρκούμη (turmeric), το ζουμό ενός λεμονιού, 2-3 κουταλιές σάλτσα σόγιας και 5-6 κουταλιές ελαιόλαδο. Ετοιμάσετε μια σάλτσα από 2 κουταλιές γεμάτες φυστικοβούτηρο, 50ml κρέμα καρύδας, λίγο λεμόνι, κύμινο, κόλιαντρο, ζάχαρη και σάλτσα σόγιας. Σερβίρουμε το ψημένο σουβλάκι (που το αλείφουμε όσο συχνά γίνεται με το μαρινάρισμα) με την σάλτσα που κανονικά την αλείφουν πάνω από το κρέας (εγώ την άφησα ξεχωριστά, μπας και γκρινιάζει η οικογένεια, αλλά τελικά όλα καλά - τους άρεσε πολύ ο συνδυασμός. Σημείωμα: τα σουβλάκια είναι φτιαγμένα με πολύ λεπτά κομμένο χοιρινό, όχι με τους παραδοσιακούς κύβους χοιρινό ή κοτόπουλο.

A friend was getting rid of some of her old books, among which were included some cookbooks. They were all written over three decades ago, making those books precious because they were written at a time when internet did not exist, less processed food was mentioned in recipes and printed material (eg books, magazines and newspaper) was the main source of a new recipe for the home cook.

One of the books in my friend's collection was A Cook's Tour by Sarah Gates. As I picked it up, the book fell open at the page showing a satay recipe. The last time I had this (with peanut sauce) was in New Zealand, where fellow Indonesian students would cook it and share their meals. They always ate with their hands - never with a fork - deftly scooping up rice with the first three fingers of one hand and bringing it to their mouths.
I had some boneless pork in the freezer which I sliced before it was completely defrosted in very thin pieces. This was marinated in onion, garlic and ground spices with some soy sauce, before being threaded onto skewers. The peanut sauce was made with canned coconut cream and peanut butter - you can get practically anything you need to cook Asian food from scratch these days in Crete. I served the sauce separately from the meat just in case I got complaints from the family who had never had satay before, but they liked it very much, so I guess we'll make this one again.

Old cookery books are sometimes prized for their historical value; for me, they acted as a reference point of inspiration. Satay was new to my family; they not only loved the way the meat was cooked (as opposed to the traditional Greek souvlaki), but they also agreed that the peanut sauce tasted much better with these novel souvlaki than the tzatziki that was on the table. They are becoming better accustomed to pairing foreign tastes that go well together. Satay is not commonly known at all in Greece, but a quick check on the internet yielded a few links to sate recipes with Greek twists. Tahini can be used instead of peanut butter for a more Mediterranean taste - regular souvlaki can be marinated with ground coriander, cumin, turmeric, ginger and soy sauce, instead of the traditional Greek flavours. It's not that hard to produce delicious satay in souvlaki paradise.

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