We came across this Terengganu specialty, Sata by chance today when we wandered through the tiny roads around Kampung Baru in Kuala Lumpur.
Terengganu, is one of the states that form the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. As it is a coastal state and isolation from the bustling east coast, fishing and farming are the main livelihood of the people. Hence fish, coconut and rice feature quite heavily in their local dishes. Their most famous product from Terengganu is Keropok Lekor made from fish paste and sago that is deep fried. When you drive along the coastal roads of Terengganu, you will past by small villages who cook their own keropok lekor and sell them.
Although I have sampled keropok lekor at these roadside stalls, this is the first time I came across this particular food, Sata. I understand that this is also sold at the stalls and is extremely popular among the locals in Terengganu. With the migration of Terengganu locals to Kampung Baru, the Malay village within the city centre, Kl-lites can now enjoy these Terengganu gastronomic delights.
The Sata stall is found at the junction between Jalan Raja Uda and Jalan Mahmud where a man is tendering over a charcoal fire and grilling skewers of the small parcels of Sata. You can get four small Sata in a triangular shape wrapped in banana leaves for a sum of RM1.50. The stall is open from tea time to the evening onwards.
After you remove the slightly singed banana leaves, you will get little pyramids of fish meat and grated coconuts as below. The smell of the Sata is unbelievable and it is best eaten hot from the grill.
If any of you are interested in making Sata at home, try this recipe which I found from my Flavours magazine. It's quite simple and may make a great variation to your home barbeque.
Sata (Grilled Fish and Coconut Parcels)
500 grams mackarel (kembung, tenggiri or selayang)
200 grams grated coconut (white part only)
2 cm ginger
1 clove garlic
1 tumeric leaf, finely sliced
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and sugar to taste
2 red chillies, sliced
banana leaf for wrapping
bamboo skewers, cut 20 cm long
Clean and debone fish. Combine the fish meat, grated coconut, ginger, shallots, garlic and turmeric leaf in an electric blender and process to a paste. Season to taste with chili powder, sugar and salt. Cut the banana leaf into 23 x 15 cm rectangles. Pass the leaf briefly over a flame or dip into hot water to soften it. Fold a piece of banana leaf into a cone and fill it with the fish paste. Top with two or three slices of chili. Fold top to close the package and stand it on its base.
Thread several parcels from the base through a bamboo skewer. Grill over a medium fire, turning over once or twice, for 5-10 minutes , or until cooked. Serve as a savoury snack.