Satay, juicy chunks of marinated meat skewered on thin bamboo sticks and grilled to perfection on a charcoal open fire, served with a delectably savoury sauce. It may have been claimed that Satay originated from Malaysia, but historically, it can be traced back to Java as the place where the Indian kebab, imported by Muslim traders, first took on a distinctly more eastern flavour.
Indonesia can indeed claim Satay as theirs, given the fact that they have many variations of Satay as oppose to Malaysia, which has only 1 main type of marination country-wide. Indonesia however, has many different types of Satay, coming from different parts of the republic.
The Food Experts at Ricebowl Asia hereby decree that Satay is from Indonesia. With that being said, here is a list of Satay and its variants that you can find in Indonesia.
1. Sate Ayam (Chicken Satay)
This is the most common Satay sold in Indonesia. You can find it everywhere—from street peddlers to the up-class restaurants in 5-star hotels. It is chunks of chicken meat (usually combined with chicken liver and skin) skewers that is marinated in soy sauce spice and then grilled. It is usually served with sweet and spicy peanut sauce, sliced shallots, and chopped chilies along with steamed rice or lontong (rice cake).
2. Sate Maranggi
Sate Maranggi is a popular Satay from Purwakarta, West Java. Usually Satay Maranggi is made from lamb meat or beef. The marinating sauce is usually made from the mixture of green chili paste and cuka lahang (vinegar made from sugar cane) so it tastes a little bit spicy.
3. Sate Kambing (Lamb Satay)
Just like its name, Sate Kambing is made from lamb meat. The unique aspect in preparing Sate Kambing is that the meat should not be washed in water as it can make the meat smells bad. Minced pineapple is usually used to chase the meat as well as to make the meat soft and tender. Sate Kambing is usually served with two options of sauce—peanut sauce or sweet soy sauce, completed with diced tomatoes, cabbage, cucumber, and chopped chilies. It is best eaten with hot steamed rice.
4. Sate Padang
Sate Padang is the name for three types of Satay that are famous at West Sumatera: Sate Padang, Sate Padang Panjang, and Sate Padang Pariaman. All of these Satays are made from ox tongue or beef. You can see the difference of the three by looking at the sauce. Sate Padang has spicy flavor because the sauce is made from peanut sauce and chilies. Sate Padang Panjang tastes not too spicy and the sauce has yellow in color, while the sauce of Sate Padang Pariaman has spicier flavor and the color is red.
5. Sate Kalong
Sate Kalong literally means ‘Bat Satay’. But don’t worry, this Satay isn’t made from bat meat at all. Sate Kalong is made from ox meat and marinated in sweet spice. It taste sweet and a bit like dendeng sapi (Indonesian jerked meat). It was named Sate Kalong because usually the peddler sells this Satay from the evening until midnight (‘Kalong’ in Indonesian also means begadang or staying up late).
6. Sate Kerang (Scallop Satay)
This Satay is not like other grilled Satay mentioned above. This specialty food from Surabaya, East Java is cooked by boiling the scallops and sauté them in hot and sweet spice. Usually Sate Kerang is eaten along with lontong balap (famous rice cake dish from Surabaya).
7. Sate Usus (Intestines Satay)
This Satay is also not grilled, but sautéed in spices and then skewered using bamboo skewers. Just like its name, it is made from usus (chicken’s intestines). Sate Usus also comes boiled, and then it is fried before serving.
8. Sate Buntel
Sate Buntel is famous in Solo or Surakarta, Central Java. It is made from minced beef or lamb (especially the belly or ribs area). The fatty meat then wrapped in a meat’s membrane before being wrapped around bamboo skewers. It is then grilled on fire charcoal, and removed from the skewers before serving. The sauce is made from the mixture of sweet soy sauce and ground pepper.
9. Sate Torpedo
This is one of the most unique kinds of Satay from Indonesia. Sate Torpedo is made from the goat testicles goat, hence the name. Many people, usually males, love consuming this Satay as it is said to improve energy and sexual stamina.
10. Sate Bandeng
It is dubbed as a unique Satay from Banten. Sate Bandeng is made from boneless bandeng (milkfish). The milkfish meat is minced and mixed with spices, and then inserted into the milkfish’s skin. It does not use skewers but a tongs made from bamboo, and grilled on fire charcoal.