Likely introduced to Java from Middle Eastern merchants, local cooks throughout Asia eventually adapted skewered recipes with native ingredients to create their own regional variations. Ground candlenuts enrich this spicy shrimp satay, which is inspired by a popular street food from the coastal areas of Singapore. Look for them online or at your local Asian market. (If unavailable, macadamias have a similar consistency.) For even more sumptuous skewered meats, check out our guide to the best kebabs, skewers, and satays.
- 1 1⁄2 lb. (about 40) medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1⁄2 cup chopped shallots
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 8 makrut lime leaves, stemmed
- 3 candlenuts, or substitute 5 macadamia nuts
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 red bird’s eye chiles, stemmed
- One 3-inch piece ginger, chopped
- 3 tbsp. peanut oil
- 1⁄3 cup coconut milk
- In a bowl, toss the shrimp and lime juice; set aside. In a small food processor, puree the shallots, brown sugar, salt, lime leaves, nuts, garlic, chiles, and ginger. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the spice mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until oil separates from the paste, 3–4 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk, remove from heat, and set aside to cool to room temperature, then pour the liquid over the shrimp, cover, and refrigerate at least 2 and up to 4 hours.
- Build a hot charcoal fire in a grill. Thread the shrimp onto the skewers and grill, spooning more marinade over the shrimp as they cook and turning occasionally, until charred, 3–5 minutes. Serve hot.