Shrimp Sate (Sate Udang) (Tested)

Serves     25-30 shrimp


Sate (Indonesian spelling) or Satay (Malaysian spelling) is one of the most loved foods in Southeast Asia. Indonesia is THE home of Sate, believed to have originated from the island of Java, but it is also popular in many Southeast Asian countries now.

Sate is a very common street food in Indonesia. There are no less than 29 types of Sate available, and they are usually named after the town of origin or method of cooking. The seafood sate sold in Bali has beautiful distinct flavors. Instead of being doused in rich sweet peanut sauce, it is served plain, fresh off the grill without any sauce–letting the sweet flavors of char-grilled seafood and exotic spices burst in the mouth.


1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (16-20 size), peeled and deveined
1 lime
1 cup spice paste
Bamboo skewers

Directions for Shrimp

Squeeze the juice of one lime on the shrimp and let marinate for 15 minutes. Add the spice paste, mix well, and marinate for 1 to 3 hours. Thread the shrimp onto skewers and grill or broil. You want the heat to be high so that the shrimp cook quickly and get a little char on them. If your grill is hot enough it should take about 2-3 minutes per side.


Seafood Spice Paste

Makes one cup


5 large red chilies (Holland or Korean), chopped
7 shallots, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2” piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
2” piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
(or 2 teaspoon powdered – see Note 1 below)
1 small tomato, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
5 candlenuts (10 macadamia nuts can be substituted – see Note 2 below)
1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste (see Note 3 below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp (see Note 4 below)
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed, tied in a knot

Directions for Seafood Spice Paste

Process all ingredients except for oil, tamarind, lemongrass and coconut milk until they turn into a coarse paste.  Can be made one week ahead and refrigerated.

Heat the oil in a sauté pan and add the spice paste, tamarind pulp and lemongrass stalk. Saute for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture smells fragrant, not harsh and raw anymore. Stir in coconut milk and let cool.

Recipe source: The Food of Bali


Notes and Instructions


  • Turmeric will stain your fingers yellow if you handle it and chop it, you may want to wear gloves.
  • Candlenuts are used to add body and thickness, and are not to be eaten raw, in fact if you eat any they can be mildly toxic. Once they are ground up and cooked they are harmless.
  • Indonesian shrimp paste comes in a block and is brown and quite pungent. Since the recipe only calls for 1 teaspoon feel free to omit if you don’t want to make this purchase.
  • You can use tamarind concentrate from a jar rather than soaking the pulp in water and straining it.

Tip – Freeze leftover coconut milk in ice cube trays and pop into a zip-lock bag for future use.