Satay Saturday

What do you do when you have a bunch of friends coming over for dinner on a warm Summer evening, and they are a well-travelled bunch who has tasted almost everything there is to eat – from Chinese to Japanese to Indian, and not to mention, the Italian invasion of every food Western? Well, I say you suffocate them with a gastronomic galore of traditional Malay food,or so I thought. The idea remains brilliant, until you realise that you have never actually MAKE ANY of the traditional dishes you have in mind, and in faraway-land like Canada – you can’t actually run to the nearby hawker centre to buy the food and present them as your own (like I know a LOT of people do in Singapore..hahaha). Suffice to say that I dug myself deep into the holes of possible food disasters last weekend, but God saved me, I survived.

It all started with me wanting to treat a bunch of friends here to good ol’ Malay food last Saturday. DH and myself were gung-ho on planning the menu from day one. On one Wednesday night, DH whipped up his trusty clipboard, paper and pen during dinner – just to plan what we are going to serve to our friends so that I can quickly draw up my grocery shopping. I had a feeling he took it like how he has to design software with his ideas, and was quite perturbed by the clipboard. Alas, we didn’t quite succeed in our planning discussion, as we were too busy walloping dinner. And to round it all off, I confidently told him,”Don’t worry, I will think of something easy”.Not.

The next day, I was on a one-hour drive crossing over the US to visit a family friend in a hospital, with 2 lovely aunties. As luck would have it, we were stuck in overwhelming traffic for an hour at the border, so when you put a bunch of Singaporeans and ex-Singaporeans together – what do you talk about? No guesses,food.

They found out very quickly that I was yet to plan what to serve my guests on Saturday- and the suggestions on what to serve came fast and furious. There were many dishes thrown into the pot,many of which accompanied by oohs and aahs with the frequent slurping and harmonic renditions of “oooo sedapnyaaa…”.But none stuck to my head as much as ‘satay’ and ‘rendang’ did. Everything else was a blur. The fact that I have NEVER made satay (I made rendang once before, minus the kerisik though) was obviously also a blur to me.

It is a number ONE no-no to serve your guests something you have never made before.But the recalcitrant me just had to do it anyway (did I tell you my mum said I was born in a huge thunderstorm, and when I came out – the storm stopped? I blame the roaming electricity in the air for my stubborness. Serious). I did a quick search on the Net and found some recipes for rendang and satay. I was not sure which one to choose, so I used my gut feeling on which one would taste the best. I read the recipes diligently.Over and over again.

Boo-boos were aplenty. I read ’10 ulas bawang besar’ as 10 BIG red onions. It was supposed to be shallots. And thus my satay gravy was slightly bitter, and I had to make a long-distance call to my sister to ask her on how to repair my damaged gravy.

I bought 10 pounds of meat (chicken and beef) to make satay to feed 10 people, but that amount can easily feed an entire street of homeless folks for a day. I thought hey, with me and DH sticking the meat on the satay sticks together, we would finish the 10 pounds of meat pretty fast. Boy, were we wrong. We completed our satay-assembly task only at 3 am the night before the dinner.I had to YM Nazrah too to check if I have to put star anise in my satay gravy (or was it rendang?) and thank God that cooking queen was still awake.

Years of university did me no good. Suddenly, I don’t seem to be able to read. I thought I bought a packet of Tumeric Powder, dashed it into my chicken meat marinate – and realised later that the words on the packet said TAMARIND Powder. My chicken satay was a tad tamarind-ish, but it turned out to be a pretty good marinate!

By some grace, all the food turned out delicious. I worked up my guests’ appetite by making them pick some fresh sweet yellow plums from our backyard, and by the time they filled up their fruit bowl – they were famished 🙂 Good trick, yes?

You know the maths. When you are hungry, anything on the table will taste good.


  1. steadylah!!!you did a pretty darned good job girl!! nanti buat ler sate kenduri kat tampines ek?

  2. mak labu: how to? I wont be in Canada for raya la dey….

    nazrah: kerana muuu…aku sanggup menyucuk satay …NOT. LOL. I wish u can rasa laa…fulamakk..power ! (ni kes puji diri sendiri!)

  3. binilukman: I now declare myself the novice Mak Satay. Or shld it be MamaBom Satay?

    ely: Yes I did, next time I am making satay you guys have to come up from SF and tolong cucuk ok? 😉

    Alex: Thanks. I get all hungry looking at the pictures too.

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