Vegetarian aubergine and mushroom satay is a great version of the infamous Malaysian favourite. The recipe is a bit complicated, but don’t let that scare you off as it comes together rather quickly and even faster the next time you make it. The satay is great cooked on the bbq and the aubergine and mushroom can be replaced with things like tofu, red pepper, butternut squash or courgette. Southeastern Asian food has got to be one of my favourite cuisines, after you taste this recipe, you will know why.

Aubergine and Mushroom Satay

Serves 4 as a main, 6 as a starter


1 tsp ground coriander
2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only
6 shallots
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil 

1/2 tsp chili powder

2 tsp turmeric powder 

4 tsp kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)

Combine all ingredients. Blend using a hand blender or food processor. 

For the Satay

300g small mushrooms

1 large or 2 medium aubergine

Bamboo Skewers (soaked in water for 1 hour to avoid burning if using grill or bbq)

To Assemble

Slice the aubergine block into 1/2 cubes. Place aubergines, mushrooms and marinade into a plastic bag. Shake bag to coat well. Marinate at least one hour preferably overnight. Preheat oven to 200C. Assemble skewers by impaling aubergine and mushrooms. Grill under high heat for 8 minutes on each side, or until tender and starting to colour. Bake in the oven on a greased baking tray until the aubergine and mushrooms are tender, about 30 minutes. Turning once after about 15 minutes. Serve with satay sauce and sliced cucumber. This recipe can also be done on the BBQ, simply soak the skewers for 30 minutes in water so they do not burn.

Satay Sauce

3 tbsp vegetable or peanut oil

125g unsalted peanuts

50ml water

1 tbsp kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce)
1 tbsp palm sugar or light muscavado sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1 heaping tbsp tamarind*
100 ml coconut milk

*Soak the tamarind in 75ml of warm water for 15 minutes, pass the tamarind through a fine sieve using a rubber spatula. Be sure to scrap bottom of the sieve as a lot of the tamarind will be there. Discard the seeds and pulp in the sieve and use what was passed through. 

Spice Paste:

3-4 dried red chilies 

1 clove garlic

2 shallots

1 stalk lemongrass, white parts only
1/2 inch galangal or ginger
1 tbsp ground coriander 

Soak red chillies in warm water for 10 minutes. Drain and discard water. Toast peanuts in a 180C oven for 10 minutes. Crush the peanuts coarsely with mortar and pestle or food processor and set aside. Chop the spice paste ingredients and blend until fine. Heat oil and fry the spice paste until aromatic and smell spicy. Careful not to inhale as it will make you cough! Add the peanuts, tamarind juice, water, sugar, sweet soy sauce and coconut milk and stir thoroughly. Simmer on low heat while continue stirring for about 3 minutes. Serve at room temperature with the satay.

Tamarind, palm sugar, lemongrass, galangal and kecap manis can be found in Asian or world food markets. Satay very versatile and can be made with a variety of ingredients placed on the skewers,

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