I remember the first time that I met my sister-in-law. The conversation immediately went to food. She had heard from my brother that I liked to cook. A lot. She gave me a cookbook on Indonesian cooking from her home country. I’ve read the cookbook hundreds of times taking in everything from wildly foreign techniques (deep fried hard boiled eggs?!? Awesome) to the little cultural elements that helped me understand a new family member.
Her first visit in the summer involved asking me if I had a BBQ grill. I was in a little apartment but I had a little rogue charcoal grill on my balcony at the time. She said we were going to make saté, or Indonesian meat skewers. She said to get a tougher cut of beef steak and a bunch of chicken thighs. I was tasked to cut all of it into thin strips and she showed me how to weave these strips on to skewers. Start at the one end of the long thin strip of meat, fold over about 1cm (1/2″) of the strip over it, skewering it through and repeat until the strip is woven on the skewer. Usually you only do about 4 or 5 strips per skewer leaving half of the skewer to hang over the edge of the grill so it doesn’t scorch and burn. Smart.
Since then, I’ve probably done these skewers hundreds of times over the last decade plus. My brother and I get into saté contests so we have to make a minimum of 50 just for the two of us. I’m not exaggerating. We usually eat upwards of 20+ each. We both lay around like beached whales afterwards, but there’s nothing like chargrilled meat on a stick.
If you wanted to do something similar for your vegetarian friends, you need something that’s flexible when sliced thinly, like zucchini or Japanese eggplant.
Today, I was reminded of all of those times weaving meat and was inspired for this sandwich. Instead of an Indonesian-style peanut sauce, I decided on a super summery Peach Sweet and Sour Sauce. Another sauce of which my sister-in-law gave me the framework: sugar, vinegar, thickened with corn starch and initially she told me about ketchup (I know, wtf??). This version is with freshest of the fresh summer peaches! Enjoy!
Grilled Turmeric Pork Saté Sandwich with Peach Sweet and Sour Sauce
For the Grilled Turmeric Pork:
300g/12 oz pork loin chops, thinly sliced (about 1cm (1/2″) thick)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
Place the strips of pork on a plate, sprinkle with salt and turmeric and massage it over the meat to combine.
Thread 4 or 5 strips of meat on a skewer, bending and skewering at 1cm (1/2″) intervals on the meat. Press together at the top end of the skewer. Repeat with remaining meat. There should be about 10 skewers. Set aside.
Preheat a grill to medium (if it’s an outdoor gas grill). Push coals to one side of the grill if it’s a charcoal grill. Preheat a grill to high if it’s an indoor grill (those tend to run cooler than outdoor grills). Grill the prepared skewers for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the Peach Sweet and Sour Sauce:
2 medium peaches, peeled, pitted, roughly chopped, then puréed (should be about 200mL (3/4 cup) of volume)
1/4 cup raw cane sugar
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tsp corn starch + 4 tsp water, stirred together in a small bowl
Place the peach purée, sugar and vinegar in a small pot. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in the corn starch mixture. Whisk quickly to return the mixture to a simmer and allow it to thicken to a glossy finish. Makes about 1 cup of sauce. Set aside.
For the sandwich:
Prepared Grilled Turmeric Pork Saté
Prepared Peach Sweet and Sour Sauce
150g/6oz baby bok choy, ends trimmed, blanched for 60 seconds
4 fresh radishes, thinly sliced
2 ciabatta bread (about 10cm/4″ x 5cm/2″ in size), cut in half
Spread the cut sides of the ciabatta liberally with Peach Sweet and Sour Sauce. Lay half of the blanched baby bok choy on each of the bottoms of the ciabatta bread. Top each bok choy with half of the Grilled Turmeric Pork Saté (removed from the skewers or the sandwich will be a little hard to eat ;P ). Layer a few slices of radish over the meat and top with the top of the ciabatta. Serves 2-3.