How to Make Malaysian Satays and Ketupat

This is the episode that begins 20 minutes after we started cooking thanks to my vain efforts to save every last byte of Telstra data in case I ran out halfway through.

There were 3 days left in my Telstra billing cycle with 95% of data used and one remaining Live broadcast to squeeze into it. I didn’t want to pay exorbitant amounts for excess data usage so I’d spent the last several days working through my options.

I won’t go into the painstaking details of what I did to get more data ahead of time for this broadcast but I did have everything lined up – new modem plus 2 new sim cards from 2 different (cheaper) providers.

I promise it was through no fault of my own that these contingencies failed to deliver, but instead of freaking out, I ingeniously decided to hold off on connecting my PC to my Telstra 4G modem until the very last minute in a last ditch effort to conserve my last precious drops of data.

Then my guest, Juliette, arrived and you guessed it, I hit “Go Live” without switching from my home ADSL (ie. slow) connection to my 4G one. My audience had to put up with 20 minutes of frozen screens until I realised the problem and basically had to start the livestream again.

For what it’s worth you didn’t miss that much cooking action, plus Juliette will be back so I’ll get the chance to reintroduce her another time.

And the silver lining in all this was that while it was razor-close, I didn’t end up exceeding my Telstra data allowance for the month. Probably thanks to the missing 20 minutes at the start.

Ketupat (Compressed Rice Squares)


  • 1 cup rice
  • Muslin bag
  • Some string
  • Pot of water


  1. Place rice in bag (I used 2 muslin bags, one inside the other), then secure with string, allowing for about a 1-2-inch gap above rice level depending on bag measurements, to allow for room to expand.
  2. Simmer bag of rice in pot of water for an hour. Remove and allow to cool, then cut into squares.

Ps. It got cut off in the broadcast, but my original method of making this was to put the rice in a vacuum bag that was then sealed and pierced in several places. This was how I used to make it quite successfully in my restaurant, but the seal broke in the pot this time around (I should have done a double seal).


Malaysian Satay


  • 1 kg chicken thigh fillets
  • bamboo skewers

For the marinade –

  • 1 Tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 onion, pureed
  • 50 g minced lemongrass
  • 50g minced galangal
  • 1 ½ Tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsps raw sugar
  • 3 Tbsps brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt


  1. Cut chicken into about 9 squares per thigh fillet.
  2. Combine with marinade ingredients and keep in refrigerator for several hours before use.
  3. Skewer 3-4 pieces of meat per bamboo stick.
  4. Cook on grill for about 5 minutes or until done, brushing with oil along the way.
  5. Serve with peanut sauce.

Malaysian Satay

Peanut Sauce


  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 Tbsp tamarind concentrate
  • 50 g minced lemongrass
  • 1½ Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1½ Tbsp salt
  • 2L water
  • 3 cups roasted, skinned peanuts, crushed
  • ½ cup fried shallots (commercially available; alternatively, puree an onion, then fry along with the garlic in Step 1 until browned)


  1. Heat oil in deep saucepan, then add garlic and saute until aromatic.
  2. Add all other ingredients except fried shallots, and simmer until slightly thickened.
  3. Add fried shallots and continue simmering until it reaches the desired consistency.
  4. Adjust seasonings, then remove from heat and serve with satays.

Peanut sauce

Chilli Paste for Satay Sauce


  • 1 cup dried chillies, soaked in boiling water until softened
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Purée soaked, dried chillies with a little water in food processor.
  2. Transfer into saucepan and simmer until slightly reduced.
  3. Add oil and salt and saute until oil separates.
  4. Spoon desired amount onto peanut sauce before serving.


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