These Indonesian Beef Skewers are a tasty treat on any summer’s day, and are paired with shrimp paste to give them a brilliantly authentic flavour. Coupled with the addictive peanut dipping sauce, this is a dish sure to please everyone at the dinner table.

Serves 4-6


4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 mild red chilli, seeded and chopped

1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped

½ tsp shrimp paste

50g natural peanuts, skins removed

good pinch of salt

2 tbsp sunflower oil

400g can coconut milk

675g sirloin or striploin steak, cut into ¾ inch chunks

For the peanut sauce:

2 tbsp sunflower oil

100g natural peanuts, skins removed

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 tsp shrimp paste

pinch of hot chilli powder

good pinch of salt

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp light brown sugar


  1. Place the garlic in a food processor or mini blender with the chilli, ginger, shrimp paste, peanuts and salt. Blend to a paste.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a pan and then tip in the garlic paste. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, until the mixture turns golden and smells fragrant. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened, then tip into a shallow non-metallic dish and leave to cool completely. Stir in the steak and marinate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best, covered with clingfilm in the fridge).
  3. To make the peanut sauce, heat half the sunflower oil in a pan and fry the peanuts for 1–2 minutes until sizzling and lightly golden. Transfer to a food processor and finely chop, then set aside. Place the shallots, garlic, shrimp paste, chilli powder and salt in a pestle and mortar or food processor and blend to a paste.
  4. Add the remaining oil to the pan and tip in the shallot paste. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring, then pour in 300 ml (½ pint) water. Bring to the boil, then stir in the peanut paste, lemon juice and sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened.
  5. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely. The sauce will keep in the fridge, covered with clingfilm, for up to 24 hours.
  6. If using a charcoal barbecue, light 30 minutes before you want to start cooking. If using a gas barbecue, light it 10 minutes beforehand. Otherwise preheat the grill.
  7. Soak twelve bamboo skewers in plenty of water for 30 minutes, then drain. Thread the marinated beef on to the skewers and arrange on the grill rack. Cook over medium-hot coals or under a medium grill for 8–10 minutes or until cooked through and lightly charred.
  8. Divide the beef skewers between warmed plates, then pour the sauce into dipping bowls and serve alongside.