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Satay (pronounced /?sæte?/ SA-tay) or sate is a dish consisting of diced or sliced chicken, goat, mutton, beef, pork, fish, tofu, or other meats; the more authentic version uses skewers from the midrib of the coconut leaf, although bamboo skewers are often used. These are grilled or barbecued over a wood or charcoal fire, then served with various spicy seasonings.
Satay may have originated in Java, Indonesia. It is also popular in many other Southeast Asian countries, such as: Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, the southern Philippines and in the Netherlands, as Indonesia is a former Dutch colony.
Satay is a very popular delicacy in Indonesia and Malaysia; Indonesia’s diverse ethnic groups’ culinary art have produced a wide variety of satays. In Indonesia, satay can be obtained from a travelling satay vendor, from a street-side tent-restaurant, in an upper-class restaurant, or during traditional celebration feasts. In Malaysia, satay is a popular dish – especially during celebrations – and can be found throughout the country. Close analogues are yakitori from Japan, shish kebab from Turkey, chuanr from China and sosatie from South Africa.
Turmeric is a compulsory ingredient used to marinate satay, which gives the dish its characteristic yellow colour. Meats commonly used include beef, mutton, pork, venison, fish, shrimp, squid, chicken, and even tripe. Some have also used more exotic meats, such as turtle, crocodile, and snake meat.
Satay may be served with a spicy peanut sauce dip, or peanut gravy, slivers of onions and cucumbers, and ketupat (rice cakes). Pork satay can be served in a pineapple-based satay sauce or cucumber relish. An Indonesian version uses a soy-based dip.
Satay is not the same as the Vietnamese condiment sate, which typically includes ground chili, onion, tomato, shrimp, oil, and nuts. Vietnamese sate is commonly served alongside noodle and noodle-soup dishes.
Satay was supposedly invented by Javanese street vendors, based on satay becoming popular after the influx of Arab immigrants in the early 19th century. The satay meats used by Indonesians and Malaysians, mutton and beef, are also favoured by Arabs and are not as popular in China as are pork and chicken. Another theory states that the word satay is derived from the Minnan-Chinese words sa tae bak meaning three pieces of meat.