Pure Beef: Tamarind Beef Satay

May 24, 2012

I first made this delicious beef satay recipe back in 2012. Every summer it continues to be a great go-to meal or snack when we fire up the grill for some outdoor cooking. 

Grilled Tamarind Beef Satay Recipe | Fake Food Free


The email subject read, “As far from fake beef as one can get.”

That was enough to spark my curiosity.

Before I opened it I wasn’t aware of the cookbook that awaited me, of the story that would later have me nodding my head, or the fact that it would be so educational that my husband would hijack it for a day and read the first 70 pages.

Pure Beef Cookbook

The title says a lot, but it does not say it all. I’ve found this cookbook to serve as a novel as I have read through Lynne Curry’s story. Lynne is a former vegetarian who now finds herself in Oregon’s Wallowa Valley enjoying what I can only imagine is one of the most beautiful places on earth with some of the best food.

I live in central Kentucky and it’s pretty beautiful here, too. As I write this I just happen to have a chorus of cows singing from the farm behind our house, but I’ve been to Oregon and I love it. This can be considered – how I related to this book #1.

Number 2, is the story of how a vegetarian came to enjoy the flavor of grassfed beef, culturally, nutritionally, and ethically. To paraphrase roughly, the moment was during her international travels in Guatemala when she was graciously offered grassfed beef as a gesture of hospitality.

Tamarind Beef Satay recipe from the Cookbook Pure Beef


While I have never been a vegetarian, I fully believe that culture and respect for the people of that culture should override what we will and will not eat. I’ve tried many things, and maybe one day I will be put in a position where I just can’t stomach it, but as of now this is my view. It was a view that I felt I shared with the author as I read, making this book even more meaningful.

I was never all that crazy about beef until I enjoyed the local grassfed beef of the Bluegrass. This opportunity occurred only about 2 years ago when we returned to the States. Now it is the only beef I will buy. There are many reasons for this, and I will let you read through these when you get your copy of Pure Beef. Considering my background, nutrition is one reason.

As I moved past the why of the book, I got to the how. How to cut beef, how to buy it, how to cook it. I still have a lot more to read, but this is as much a resource for my library as a cookbook.

Then you get to the recipes. There truly is a recipe for every cut, and an endless amount of tips on how to cook it all. Coffee Bean-Chile Rubbed Sirloin Roast, Boneless Oxtail and Buckwehat Crepe Purses, and Baked Argentinian Empanadas to name a few.

There are side dishes and condiments galore as well, with and without beef, such as Roasted Corn Salsa, Butternut Squash Bread Pudding, and Lemony Chard Bundles. There are also variations on recipes such as the gluten-free meat loaf.

There were too many great recipes to choose from, so I had to use a bit of a spin-the-bottle approach to select one. I landed on Tamarind Beef Satay.

Tamarind Beef Satay


We picked up a tri tip from our local grassfed beef source, Marksbury Farm Market. It worked beautifully and all the credit has to go to my husband. One tip he picked up from the book was to freeze the meat for about 20 minutes before slicing it thinly for the beef satay. He sliced, I mixed the marinade.

This recipe is simple and the beef satay cooked up on the grill quickly. The sweet and tart flavors of the tamarind, honey and fish sauce go so well together. Next time I’ll probably add just a little more chile sauce because we are spicy food fans. We served up the satay with grilled corn and a green salad. Easy and delicious!

Tamarind Beef Satay

Recipe reprinted with permission from Pure Beef © 2012 by Lynne Curry, Running
Press, a member of the Perseus Book Group.

From the book:

Tamarind is an intoxicating sour and sweet fruit from Indonesia where satay is the go-to snack on a stick. It is incredible with beef, so I created a tamarind marinade that lacquers thin beef strips to grill or broil. Satay makes a wonderful appetizer; to fill it out for a main dish, I accompany it with another Indonesian favorite, a fruit salad called Rujak, which has as many renditions as pasta salad does in this country. My version is a beautiful chopped salad of cucumbers, jicama, pineapple, and mango that’s crunchy, juicy, sweet, and tart. Served along with Sticky Rice or steamed rice, it turns satay into a tantalizing meal, just the thing to wake up your taste buds in the middle of winter.

Makes 4 servings as a main dish; 8 as an appetizer

3 tablespoons tamarind paste*
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fish sauce

1/2 teaspoon chile sauce, such as sambal oelek
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts
1 to 1 1/2 pounds top sirloin steak, sliced into 1/4-inch thick strips

Mix the tamarind paste, honey, fish sauce, chile sauce, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Pound the peanuts in a mortar and pestle or in a heavy-duty plastic bag with a rolling pin to the texture of fine breadcrumbs and stir into the tamarind sauce. Put the beef strips in the bowl, toss to coat, and marinate for about 15 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat a charcoal or gas grill for high heat (425°F to 475°F), scraping the grate clean and oiling it lightly, or preheat the broiler. Thread the slices onto wooden or metal skewers, stitching the beef on and then stretching it along the skewer so that it looks like a miniature banner. Thread any short strips onto the same skewer.

Grill or broil the skewers for 1 to 2 minutes per side and serve the satay warm or at room temperature.

*Note: Tamarind is available from Asian grocery markets in several different forms. Tamarind paste is the easiest form that can be used straight from the jar. If your tamarind is labeled concentrate, use only 1 tablespoon and mix it with 2 tablespoons water. If you have a block of tamarind, chop about 1/2 cup of it, use a fork to mash it with 6 tablespoons of boiling water, and let it soften for about 5 minutes. Use a fine-meshed strainer to extract 3 tablespoons of pulp, pressing on the mixture firmly with a spoon.



Disclosure: A copy of this cookbook was sent to me for review purposes. I was not required to post about it and received no compensation for doing so.

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  • amy beth marantino May 24, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    this book looks really interesting; i bet that it would teach me many new things

  • The Southern Fried Bride May 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    She has fascinating facts about beef and the book looks like a wonderful resource I would love to win for my cookbook collection!

  • Jodi Kosary May 25, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Wow, that looks like an awesome book! Even if I don’t win this book, it’s one I will be purchasing.

  • Meagan May 25, 2012 at 6:18 am

    I would love to learn more about grass fed beef and I like her approach of organizing the book by meat cut.

  • Debs @ The Spanish Wok May 25, 2012 at 6:32 am

    Wow, this sounds amazing, thanks.

    Shame I’m not a US resident so can’t win the book!!!!

    You are welcome to join in my monthly food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here offering a new theme each month. All bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  • Beth Revels May 25, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I would love to share this with my friend in Indiana who raises cattle.

  • Mindy May 25, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I’d love to have a copy because I easily get confused about cuts of beef, but am often tempted to buy strange cuts at Marksbury! I’d love to learn more about the different cuts and what to do with them. 🙂

  • emily (a nutritionist eats) May 25, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I was sold by your twitter/fb pictures of the satay the other night, but I love the idea of: “balance beef with seasonal vegetables and grains, economy with pleasure, simplicity with luxury” – I like to think that is my style of cooking!

  • Darcy May 25, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Her education and background sound really interesting and of course her experience with this project/book as well!

    Plus maybe it will help me learn some meat-cooking skills! As of yet I really have none…

  • MyFudo™ May 26, 2012 at 2:59 am

    Hmmm…I’d love to try this satay recipe a try. Thanks for sharing. I am wanting to get hold of the book too…

  • TasteHongKong May 26, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Must be very appetizing : ). Freezing also helps when I need to cut the meat into paper-thin slices.

  • Joanne May 27, 2012 at 5:52 am

    I absolutely love the flavor of tamarind and I imagine it must make for a great seasoning!

  • OysterCulture May 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Love the new look of the blog! You did an awesome job.

    This recipe sounds just tremendous. I cannot wait to give it a try.

  • Andrea May 29, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Love the colors and new look of the site! YaY!!

    I’m in the process of wanting to learn more about meats and cuts of meats. How to recognize them and how to prepare them. Our meat intake has gone up and I want to be able to educate myself on providing tasty and properly cooked dishes! 🙂

  • kat May 31, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Oh what a great summer dish!

  • Fresh Local and Best May 31, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    This is the second time that I am seeing tamarind paste in a beef recipe. I must try it soon! This Asian inspired skewer looks delicious!

  • Diana June 1, 2012 at 7:21 am

    I love grassed beef. I think my husband would benefit greatly if he received a copy for Father’s Day. He’s not up on cuts and how to prepare them.

  • coco June 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Well, the beef looks good and I want the cookbook!! YUM, YUM, YUM!!

  • Janice June 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Yummy! I been look for different grass fed beef recipes ever since discovering I can serve healthier beef. This looks really yummy and my husband loves to grill. I really look forward to trying this recipe.

  • Mike September 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Once you try grass fed beef you never go back. I’m a huge fan of pastured ranged pork to. Make sure that if you buy grass fed beef it’s coming from fully grass fed cows. Sometimes you can buy grass fed beef from a farmer and the farmer brought the cows previously from someone else. That farmer may not be aware of the cows diet previously. Do your homework.