I hit the jackpot when I came across this recipe from a blog that has now become one of my favourites. The jackpot comes in the form of the Curried Cashew Sauce attached to the beef satay recipe. I want to jump right in and say that this is literally one of the best sauces I’ve ever put in my mouth. If there was ever a sauce I would venture to declare “awesomesauce” this would be it. Even though I know that term is not supposed to be taken literally, I just can’t think of anything more apt to describe this thing.
It is THAT good.
I actually made this recipe a while ago but haven’t been able to find good timing to write about it, but then I started my Dubai travel diaries and figured, well this thing comes pretty close to how they cook in the UAE. The recipe is chock full of amazing spices, and the flavours are just so bold. The thing I enjoy most about spice-filled food is how much it exemplifies what it means to have your tastebuds tickled. It’s almost like the dish challenges you to take a guess as to what exactly it is you’re tasting at that moment– Spicy? Sweet? Tangy? A little bit of all?
The sauce is definitely among the top 10 of my all-time favourite recipes. Nutty and spicy and playing with probably every flavour in the spectrum, I am just grateful I got to discover it! And you don’t even have to eat it with beef satay. You can go with your favourite grilled pork or chicken and it would still be as amazing. I promise you that!
Originally the beef is called Indian Beef Satay, but I didn’t feel or taste as much of the spices on the beef itself like I typically do with real Indian fare. It is extremely toned-down in my opinion. I had to increase some of the spices in the marinade below. Well the upside of that is how the lightness in flavour of the meat helps the sauce to shine. Still though, it would’ve been nicer to have some tastier beef.
It’s definitely a great idea to let the meat steep in the marinade overnight, so you can maximize the flavours the spices will impart, as well as maximize the tenderizing aspect of the yoghurt. It’s the same with how Western cooking makes use of buttermilk. Oh, and as a friend of mine who might have been Indian in his past life pointed out, 84% of Indians don’t really eat beef. So yeah. Let’s just remove the national identifier for my nit-picky purposes and just call this a plain beef satay recipe.
I think satay is quite a popular Asian dish nowadays. On skewers and with the meat cut up to bite-sized pieces, it’s incredibly easy to keep consuming stick after stick. Essentially satay (sometimes spelled sate) simply means seasoned grilled meat. In most traditional restaurants they grill this the right way, but I used an electric grill because I was lazy about cleaning up. (HA!) I bet the beef would taste even better cooked over wood or charcoal, to give it that characteristic earthy flavour.
But let’s focus on the star of this post: The sauce that BLOWS MY MIND.
(Wow clearly I really love this Curried Cashew Sauce… Can you tell??? I never imagined myself gushing about SAUCE, of all things! I actually don’t feel like I’m overreacting or anything. I’m pretty proud about the things I love. I’m just hoping you guys will love the sauce as much as I do!)
Instead of using peanut butter you start out with toasted cashew, processed until it looks like a rough paste. This is what binds the sauce together.
Then we add all the goodies into the mix: The coconut milk will give it body, the garlic and ginger will give it depth, the honey and soy sauce will give it a little sweet-sour tug, then the curry paste and powder will give it the kick it needs. Whiz that all up and…
TA-DAH! For a final touch, mix in the cilantro and mint. I love having these crunchy herbs to bite into while eating, plus I absolutely love the taste of cilantro. In any flavourful dish like this, cilantro is a must!
Now dump that sauce all over your skewered beef and let your tastebuds take over. You will be happy you made this sauce.
If you don’t like beef and have some other favourite grilled meat recipe, you can absolutely switch that in and try that with the sauce. I seriously want the world to make this Curried Cashew Sauce. Honestly I think I just might eat this sauce with ANYTHING. As a dip for roti even! But it sure does taste really good with meat. I have to give it that.
I’m not such a big beef eater and have actually been thinking about trying this out with some sort of grilled satay fish too! I’ll let you know how that works out. 🙂
- 1 ½ lbs. flank steak (or other tender beef portion of choice)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne (or more or less to your taste)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- fresh black pepper
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¾ cup roasted cashews
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (plus more for topping)
- ¼ cup fresh mint, roughly chopped (plus more for topping)
- pinch of pepper
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spread the nuts in an even layer on the baking sheet. Place in oven and roast for 5 minutes, then take out of the oven and stir. Return to the oven.
- 2. Check the nuts every 3 minutes, stirring in between, until they are a few shades darker and begin to smell nutty. It shouldn't take more than 15 minutes.
- 3. Remove toasted nuts from the oven and immediately transfer to another plate so they will not burn. Let cool.
- 4. In the bowl of a food processor, place cashews and process until a thick paste is formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- 5. Add the garlic, coconut milk, ginger, honey, soy sauce, curry paste, and curry powder. Process until completely smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and mint. Season with pepper.
- 6. Sauce may be kept in the fridge until ready to serve. Warm over the stove or in the microwave before serving.
- 7. Slice the beef into 1/2-inch wide strips and place into a gallon size ziplock bag or bowl.
- 8. In a glass measuring cup whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, garlic, ginger, cumin, chile powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, turmeric, cinnamon, and a generous pinch of black pepper. Squeeze in lemon juice.
- 9. Pour the marinade over the steak and toss well until all of the meat is covered by the marinade. Seal the bag or cover the bowl and place in the fridge overnight.
- 10. Preheat the grill to high heat. Thread the steak onto skewers then begin to grill. Cook the skewers 2 to 3 minute per side, not too long or the beef may become tough.
- 11. Once all the beef satay is cooked, place on a serving platter. Serve immediately with warm cashew dipping sauce, and more cilantro and mint for topping. Best eaten with roti or rice.
This is the first time I’ve ever actually been interested in trying out other sauce recipes. It’s going to be an epic ride. I’m excited about the possibilities and the pairings! Maybe one time I’ll devise my own barbecue sauce or something. For now, please do enjoy this sauce and hopefully you’ll decide to spread your love for it as much as I guarantee you will be spreading heaps and heaps of it on your food. 😉