In Which Tomatoes Sneak Into a Recipe in a Most Unusual Way…

Sun Dried Tomato Peanut Butter

Satay has long been one of my favorite dishes as there is just something about this combination of peanut-flavored grilled meats that is just incredibly satisfying.

The recipe I normally use for both satay and Indonesian-inspired pork tocinomy personal spin-off on it, is actually from Aussie author Titania Hardie.  Despite its Down Under origins, however, the flavors are strictly Southeast Asian: sweet and made headily fragrant by a mix of sweet and fiery spices and a shot of lime juice.

I was thinking of using the cardamom peanut butter I picked up recently from Peanut Butter Company, but thought better of it since I already had cardamom in the spice mix.  Instead, I chose to amp up the fruitiness of the flavors by adding a bit of sun-dried tomato peanut butter to the marinade.  I know that it sounds like a completely mad notion, seeing how tomatoes aren’t really intrinsic to Southeast Asia, but the flavor actually becomes more vibrant with those tiny bits of sun-dried tomato.  There’s a rather floral/fruity aftertaste – almost raisin-like – with each bite of the meat.  Plus, I think the faint acidity of the tomatoes paired with that of the lime makes the meat absolutely tender.

Here's the pork!

Tomato-infused Satay Liempo

  • 1/4 kilo pork belly, sliced into slabs by your butcher
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter with sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon kalamansi juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground paprika

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Marinate the meat for about 1 hour to overnight prior to grilling or broiling.

Pre-heat your oven or turbo-broiler to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4.  Place the marinated meat on the rack within the broiler or, if using an oven, on an aluminum roasting pan with a built-in rack; reserve the marinade.  Cook for about fifteen minutes, basting occasionally.  Turn the meat over and cook for an additional ten to fifteen minutes.  Remove from the broiler or oven and allow to cool for about a minute before chopping into bite-sized pieces for serving.

Serves 4.