Embracing the plant-based lifestyle in Malaysia

Jackfruit Satay with Peanut Sauce

Jackfruit Satay with Peanut Sauce
Ain’t gonna lie, mock meat does have its lure every now and then. It’s not that I miss meat, it’s just fun to switch things up sometimes. There are some mock meats made in ways that stay in the ‘safe’ zone… predictive mockery in the form of crispy duck, char siew (barbecued pork), prawns and satay just to name a few. Despite the novelty of it all, I have wondered about less processed variations of these products. And in true spirit of Hari Raya, I’ve decided to explore the latter and with an ingredient so cheap and abundant, I’m shocked that making this is not already a thing in Malaysia.
Jackfruit is not going to completely replace meat in the form of protein, containing a bit less than 2 grams for every 100 grams. However, jackfruit hugely makes up for this in other ways, being one of the rare plant-based sources of B-complex nutrients including niacin, vitamin B6 , riboflavin and folic acid. It also has Vitamin C and A, and minerals like iron, magnesium and potassium.
When ripe, jackfruit flesh is bright orange, ridiculously sweet with an alluring pungency and a taste that seems to be a mix of papaya and pineapple… Maybe a bit of banana… Maybe a tinge of mango? Let’s just say it’s pretty darn fruity.

When unripe, jackfruit flesh is an unpretentious creamy shade of white, is close to tasteless, and has a fibrous, crunchy texture… the PERFECT natural meat substitute.

Heads up: this recipe needs a LOT of time and a LOT of patience. It’s just as labour-intensive as making normal satay…
…Including marinating time!
You will need a grill appliance of some sort for this recipe. I have a sandwich maker that has changeable cooking plates.
As impressive as this meatless satay is, it doesn’t even make half a statement without its captivating co-star. This kuah kacang (peanut sauce) brings out the true Malaysian authenticity of this dish. Thick and chunky, this literal awesomesauce is proper legit straight-outta-Kajang material.
Serve alongside Nasi Impit (compressed rice cakes) and chopped cucumber and onion, and you’ve got yourself a winning ensemble of colours, textures, flavours and a hefty virtual award for kitchen tenacity.
Seriously, seeing and tasting the final results is an incredible feeling. And your guests will be scratching their heads, wondering how you made the impossible, possible.
Wishing all of my Muslim friends a warm, reflective Aidilfitri spent with loved ones and food cooked with love.
This recipe has no ratings just yet.

Jackfruit Satay with Peanut Sauce

June 15, 2018
: About 20-22 skewers
: Hard

A labour-intensive project but worth the effort and patience, these succulent grilled skewers made with unripe jackfruit are reminiscent of chicken satay and go perfectly with savoury sweet peanut sauce. Some extra hands in the kitchen may ease the process - or at least make it feel less tedious! Suggested to be served alongside Nasi Impit (compressed rice) and freshly chopped onion and cucumber.


  • 500g young jackfruit, cubed
  • 4cm lemongrass stalk (white end)
  • 2cm ginger stem
  • 1.5cm galangal root
  • 6-7 shallots
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 heaped tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pink salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground fennel
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Bamboo skewers
  • 2 cups peanut chunks
  • 15 shallots
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste in 1/4 cup water
  • 100g block of gula melaka OR 1/3 cup Brown sugar
  • 3-5 dried chilies, seeds removed
  • 2 cm ginger stem
  • 2cm galangal root
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp fennel
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • Step 1 Boil jackfruit for 12-15 minutes until tender.
  • Step 2 While that is cooking, put all other satay ingredients together to make a marinade.
  • Step 3 Drain jackfruit of water and allow to cool until they are cool enough to be touched.
  • Step 4 Skewer cubes.
  • Step 5 Massage marinade into cubes. Let skewers sit for 1-1.5 hours.
  • Step 6 While the satay marinates, prepare your sauce. Add dried chilies to hot water for 2 minutes to soften. Remove and drain chilies.
  • Step 7 Blend chillies in a blender with all sauce ingredients EXCEPT peanut chunks.
  • Step 8 Cook the blended mixture on medium heat with the Gula Melaka, starting with 1 cup of water. Stir continuously to help the sugar melt faster.
  • Step 9 After the Gula Melaka has entirely melted, add peanuts and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Step 10 Stir frequently for 25 minutes and add 1/2 cup water every 7 minutes or so.
  • Step 11 After adding the last part of water, bring heat down to a low simmer.
  • Step 12 Pre-heat your grilling appliance.
  • Step 13 Grill satay skewers for 2-3 minutes on each side until sear marks form.
  • Step 14 Serve immediately with satay sauce, compressed rice, and chopped fresh onion and cucumber.

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