Tofu Satay

A vegan version of the hugely popular south east Asian dish.

Vegan. Hands-on time: 10 mins. Total time: 40 mins (plus marinating).

Contributed by Mike Lewis (May 2011).

Tofu Satay

Photo © Veg World

In Indonesia, satay is almost a national dish. You find it in cafés and restaurants throughout the country, and especially from the hundreds of street vendors and food stalls in Jakarta and other large towns. It's also popular in other parts of south east Asia, as well as in the Netherlands (the former colonial power in Indonesia).

Satay is traditionally made by grilling marinated pieces of meat on a skewer and serving with a piquant peanut sauce. This vegan version uses tofu in place of the meat, with excellent results. It's suitable for cooking on a barbecue grill, but it can also be made in the oven.

You can buy ready-made peanut sauce, but note that many commercial varieties are not vegan (or even vegetarian), as they contain shrimp paste or other fish derivatives. Fortunately, I have a recipe for an Indonesian peanut sauce which is not difficult to make and is completely vegan.

You can serve satay with rice as a main course (the quantities given here will make two to three servings) or as a snack or side dish. The dish is easy to prepare, but it does require some advance planning, as the tofu should ideally be marinated overnight.



Drain and rinse the tofu, and dry it on a kitchen towel. Cut into 1-inch (2½ cm) cubes.

Make the marinade by thoroughly mixing the remaining ingredients, except the peanut sauce. Add the tofu pieces to the mixture. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour, but preferably for several hours or overnight. Turn the tofu pieces over from time to time.

Half an hour before you want to serve the satay, drain off any excess liquid from the tofu. To barbecue the satay, thread the tofu pieces onto bamboo skewers, and grill for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Alternatively, place the pieces in a roasting tin, and cook in the oven at 400F (200C) for 25 to 30 minutes, again turning occasionally.

While the satay is cooking, warm the peanut sauce. To serve, add the tofu to the sauce.

Note on quantities and temperatures:
Quantities are given in American (cups), imperial (oz, fl oz) and metric (g, ml) units. Do not mix the units - use one or other system throughout the recipe.
See also How much does a cup weigh?
oz = ounces, fl oz = fluid ounces, g = grams, ml = milliliters, tsp = teaspoons, tbsp = tablespoons.
Oven temperatures are given in degrees F (Fahrenheit) and C (Celsius).
For fan-assisted ovens, reduce the temperature by 20F or 10C.