NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

Satay sauce is primarily a dipping sauce in the United States, but it takes on a different role in Southeast Asia, where it originated; in addition to being a dipping sauce, it is used as a general purpose condiment to provide depth to dishes, and is the pivotal ingredient in many dishes such as gado-gado in Indonesia. In Australia, it’s a flavor you can have added to kebabs (to delicious effect, I might add), and is used as a condiment in many parts of Europe as well.

Because peanuts are not Paleo-friendly, I replaced the peanuts with a combination of walnuts, almonds, and macadamia nuts. Surprisingly, you can’t really tell that there aren’t any peanuts in this sauce – it’s the combination of shrimp paste, garlic, coconut milk, and palm sugar that really give this sauce its signature taste. If you have no restrictions on peanuts, I made no other substitution so you can just throw them back into the mix.

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Satay is a dish that originated out of Indonesia. It’s basically just marinated, skewered, grilled pieces of meat. It’s most commonly found with chicken or beef, but like Japanese yakitori, you can find all sorts of weird varieties as well if you look hard enough. This is my shrimp version.

The most critical ingredient for this dish is turmeric, which gives the meat its yellow coloring. It’s somewhat hard to find but you’ll only need to get a small container, because a little bit goes a looong way.

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