Shrimp Satay (Saté Udang)

Saté is Indonesian for a grilled skewer of meat or seafood. Popular versions are chicken and goat. Four years ago, Putneyfarm posted a recipe for a Singapore/American version of shrimp satay (saté udang) that I put on my list of recipes to cook for the blog. I finally got around to preparing my own version, which I’ve tried to make more Indonesian. As with many dishes from the region, the curry paste (called bumbu in Indonesia) is the most important part. Once you’ve made that, you marinate the shrimp in it and then grill them over a hot charcoal fire.


300 grams (.66 lb) peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp

1 Tbsp macadamia nuts, chopped

1 Tbsp kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce)

2 Tbsp coconut cream

2 Tbsp coconut milk

1 Tbsp dark palm sugar

1 lemongrass, sliced (part with purple inside only)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

4 lime leaves

4 Tbsp chopped shallots

1 Tbsp chopped ginger

1 red chilli pepper, sliced

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp trassi (fermented shrimp powder) (optional)

lime wedges, for serving


Prepare 1 lemongrass, sliced (part with purple inside only), 2 cloves garlic, chopped, 4 lime leaves, 4 Tbsp chopped shallots, 1 Tbsp chopped ginger, 1 red chilli pepper, sliced, and 1 Tbsp macadamia nuts.

You are supposed to make a bumbu using a mortar and pestle, but I like to start in the food processor…

…to get a head start…

…before turning over to the mortar and pestle.

You don’t have to buy coconut cream separately, as it floats on top of a can of coconut milk.

Heat 2 tablespoons of coconut cream in a small frying pan…

…until the cream starts to ‘break’.

Then add the bumbu…

…and stir over medium heat for a minute or so. Then add 1/2 tsp ground coriander and 1/4 tsp ground turmeric…

…and continue to stir over medium heat until it looks dry.

Now add 2 tablespoons of coconut milk…

…1 tablespoon of kecap manis…

…1/2 tsp salt…

…and  tablespoon of Indonesian palm sugar.

Stir over medium heat for a minute, then turn off the heat and allow to cool.

Wash and dry 300 grams of shrimp.

Once the bumbu is cold, mix with the shrimp.

Then cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

After marinating, thread the shrimp onto skewers. I like to use steel ones, as they won’t burn and can be used again.

Grill the shrimp over a hot charcoal fire until just cooked through and slightly charred. Do not overcook the shrimp as they will become dry and tough if you do.

Serve with lemon wedges.

Wine pairing

This calls for an aromatic wine but not too heavy. We enjoyed this with a dry muscat from Navarra in Spain. A lighter style gewurztraminer would also work very well.


Shrimp and mushrooms are a classic combination in stir fry dishes. In this Chinese-style dish, I’ve added another layer of flavor by braising dried shii take mushrooms in oyster sauce first. It is a bit more work, but worth it. Tender juicy shrimp with slightly chewy flavorful mushrooms and crunchy vegetables combined with a delicious sauce with fermented black beans, garlic, ginger, chilli, and green onions, this is very tasty indeed.


8 thoughts on “Shrimp Satay (Saté Udang)

  1. *huge smile* Thank you for coming into ‘my world’ again! Down Under beef satays are probably the most common. Love your version – local differences: our trassi is usually in paste or almost liquid form; grow my own lemongrass and somehow ‘purple’ is not a colour we see in ours and I prefer bamboo skewers: they cost nothing and, as long as one puts them in a water-bath for half-an-hour, they will not burn. May I suggest to anyone reading that ‘kecap manis’ is probably the most fun bottle you can have in your pantry . . . use it in so much fusion cooking to good effect . . . thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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