Grilled Tofu Satay Sate with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Grilled Tofu Satay Sate with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Give satay a flexitarian twist by using tofu! The tofu gets a flavor boost with a marinade of ginger, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and sriracha before hitting the grill.

Satay or sate is a dish you’ll find throughout Southeast Asia and Indonesia that includes marinated meat or poultry, skewered and charred over a hot grill.

The marinade is made with fresh ginger and garlic, plus curry powder and turmeric for color and flavor. It is used both to marinate the tofu and as a base for the spicy peanut sauce. If you want, you can also make the recipe vegan. Just replace the fish sauce with soy sauce.

What is traditional satay?

Satay, written sate in Indonesian, is traditionally marinated meat that is put through a skewer and grilled. It is usually served with any number of sauces and can be enjoyed as a main meal or snack.

It’s a distant cousin of the Middle Eastern kabob, with condiments and sauces that vary by region. Before grilling, the meat is bathed in a marinade made from any ingredient, including coconut milk, ginger, fish sauce, tamarind, lime juice, curry, soy sauce, and turmeric.

You can find it at street vendors, night markets, and restaurants, often with a dipping sauce, such as peanut, soy, or pineapple.

Swapping tofu for meat or chicken creates a plant-based dish that’s low in saturated fat.

Tofu is a nutrient-dense food that is high in protein as well as beneficial phytochemicals. When processed with calcium, which many brands of tofu are, it also provides a sensible dose of this important bone builder (just look for calcium in the ingredients list).

The best tofu for satay

It’s important to use the right type of tofu for this recipe. Look for extra strong material that’s tough enough to withstand the heat of the grill.

The recipe calls for a 14-ounce pack, which is the size typically found in plastic tubs in the refrigerated section of the market. This size makes for beautiful strips when cut and skewered.

However, the recipe is flexible, so if you can’t find that particular size, another tofu block will do, as long as it’s extra firm. It’s also a recipe that can be doubled or tripled when serving a crowd.

Tips for grilling tofu

Grilling tofu isn’t all that difficult, but since it’s low in fat, it can stick to the grill if you don’t follow a few basic rules.

  • First dab the tofu well with paper towels. Drying the tofu will also help it soak up the flavorful marinade.
  • Get your grill good and hot. Once your gas is on or your coals are ready, give these grates a good 10 minutes to heat up.
  • Generously oil your grill with vegetable oil just before placing the skewers on it.
  • Resist the urge to turn the tables too soon. You want the tofu to get firm grill marks and form a kind of crust so it’s fairly easy to peel off the grill. If necessary, a metal spatula can help.

If you don’t have a grill

If you don’t have access to a grill or want to cook this in the cold weather months, use a well-oiled griddle pan or grill the skewers under a broiler, making sure to turn them halfway through cooking. Cooking time is similar to a standard grill, so follow directions accordingly.

Can I make this with chicken instead?

If tofu isn’t your jam, chicken works well in its place. Use a pound of skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch strips. Grill over high heat until chicken is tender, about three minutes per side.

A great make-ahead dish

Much of the work of this satay can be done ahead of time. You can marinate the tofu and make the peanut sauce up to a day in advance. Cover both with cling film and store in the fridge. Pull them out about an hour before grilling.

serving ideas

Satay makes a delicious appetizer just as it is. It can also be part of an entree served with steamed rice, a popular salad like this cucumber salad, or grilled zucchini or peppers (which are excellent drizzled with peanut sauce).

Got any leftover gravy?

If you have any leftover peanut sauce, it’s your lucky day. It is delicious! Enjoy within days as a dip for crisp vegetables, over steamed broccoli, or with hot pasta, halved snow peas, and a drizzle of sesame oil.

Grilled tofu satay (sate) with spicy peanut sauce

preparation time
25 minutes

cooking time
10 mins

total time
35 minutes

up to 7 servings

20 skewers

You can make the recipe vegetarian (as well as vegan) if you wish. Just replace the fish sauce with soy sauce.

This recipe will feed 4 as a main course.


  • 1 (14 Ounce) block extra firm tofu

  • 1 inch piece fresh gingergrated or chopped on a microplane

  • 2 big cloves garlicgrated or chopped on a microplane

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon yellow curry powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon Fish sauce (see recipe note)

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon lime juice

  • 2 tablespoon packed up Brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoon Sriracha

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1/4 Cup creamy peanut butter

  • 1/4 Cup coconut milk

  • Salttaste

  • vegetable oilfor the grill

  • 2 tablespoon coarsely chopped coriander (Optional)

cooking utensils

  • 20 (10 inch) bamboo skewers


  1. Soaking the bamboo skewers:

    Soak the bamboo skewers in water while you prepare the tofu and peanut sauce.

  2. Drain, cut and dry the tofu:

    Drain the tofu from the wrapper and cut into 10 slices (about ⅓ inch thick), along the shortest edge, so they look like small decks of cards. Cut each slab in half to create narrow strips of tofu.

    Place the tofu in a single layer between two stacks of paper towels. Press down to absorb remaining liquid. Transfer tofu strips to an 8×8-inch baking pan.

  3. Make the marinade:

    In a small bowl, stir together the ginger, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, and Sriracha until smooth. Pour half of the marinade into a separate medium bowl and set aside. You will use it to make the sauce.

  4. Add sesame oil to the marinade and spread on the tofu:

    Pour the sesame oil into the small bowl with the marinade, whisk. Drizzle the marinade with the sesame oil over the tofu, making sure to turn the tofu strips over to cover all sides.

  5. While the tofu is marinating, prepare the peanut sauce:

    Add the peanut butter and coconut milk to the marinade you set aside in the medium bowl and beat until smooth. Add an additional 1/2 teaspoon or more sriracha if you want a spicier sauce.

  6. Prepare the grill:

    You always want to start with a clean grill. If using a charcoal grill, prime the coals until covered with ash, then spread out.

    If using gas, open the lid and light it. Set it on medium heat. Close the lid and allow to preheat with the lid closed for 10 minutes, aiming for 350-400°F.

  7. Skewer the tofu and season:

    While the grill is heating up, carefully insert the skewers through the center of the tofu strips. Season the tofu skewers with salt on all sides.

  8. Coat grates with vegetable oil:

    Just before placing the skewers on the grill, brush the grate with vegetable oil or rub with metal tongs and an oil-soaked paper towel.

  9. Grill tofu skewers:

    Set the skewers down, cover the grill, and cook until the tofu is clearly grilled and lifts relatively easily from the rack, about 5 minutes.

    Turn skewers, using a metal spatula if necessary, and grill for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until well-marked and easy to lift.

  10. Garnish and serve:

    Place skewers on a platter. Garnish with coriander if you like and serve with the peanut sauce.

nutritional information (per serving)
172 calories
13g Fat
8g carbohydrates
8g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!