Slow Cooked Lamb Satay Pickles

Updated: Jul 25


The inspiration for this recipe comes from a classic Indonesian satay. Usually satay is quite a straight forward humble dish consisting of skewers and a slightly spicy rich aromatic peanut sauce. I wanted to use lamb, therefore, instead of simply marinading and thinly slicing some lamb rump I wanted to take a slow cooking joint such as shoulder or neck and apply the same aromats you would add to the marinade. The concept of slow braising, rolling and frying the lamb is a classical method, however, when you add Indonesian spices to the mix things start to get interesting. This recipe takes a little prep and a wait overnight to set the lamb but is most defiantly worth the effort in the end! With all that's said this is how to make this slow cooked Lamb Satay!

Prep Time 1 1/4 hours in total / Cook and Braise Time 3 1/2 hours / Set Time overnight

To Serve 4-6


Lamb and Braise:

800g - 1kg Lamb Shoulder (deboned)

3 tbsp fish sauce

8 garlic cloves

2 lemongrass

1 shallot

3 dried tamarind pulp

3 tbsp palmsugar

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 1/2 tbsp fine chilliflakes

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp turmeric

salt and black pepper


Peanut Crust:

125g unsalted peanuts

1/2 bunch coriander

2 spring onions

1 red chilli

3 eggs

75g plain flour

salt and black pepper


2 shallots

2 lemongrass

10-15 dried red chillies

4 garlic cloves

20g galangal

75g unsalted peanuts

2 tbsp palm sugar

20g tamarind pulp

2 tbsp peanut butter

2 tbsp fish sauce

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 lime

800ml water


1/2 cucumber

1 carrot

1 red chilli

1 shallot

mint and coriander

1 lime

1 tbsp white sugar (pickle)

3 tbsp rice vinegar (pickle)


Lamb Braise:

  1. Let's begin this recipe with braising the lamb shoulder, ideally you want to do this the night before if possible to allow the lamb to set when rolled. Begin cutting the deboned lamb shoulder into large pieces. Next we want to seal the lamb by placing a large pan onto a high heat with a drizzle of oil. When hot add the diced lamb pieces to the pan and sear until evenly sealed.

2. Now that the lamb is nicely sealed we want to incorporate the spices for the braise. In the same pan now add 1 bruised and roughly sliced lemongrass, 4 crushed garlic cloves, 3 dried tamarind pulp, 1 tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tbsp ground coriander, 1 1/2 tbsp fine chilli flakes, 1 tsp of turmeric and salt and pepper. Fry the lamb in the spices for 2 minutes on a medium to low heat until fragrant. When the spices begin to give off their aroma then add 3 tbsp of fish sauce, 3 tbsp shaved palm sugar and finally enough water to just cover the lamb. Bring up to a boil then when boiling turn the braise down to a low simmer and place a lid on top. Allow the lamb to braise for 2 1/2 hours. If you want to speed the braising time then you can simply do this in a pressure cooker.

3. When the lamb has finished braising and is practically tender enough to full apart remove the lamb from the braise and place into a sieve to drain. Next place the remaining marinade onto a high heat and begin to reduce. When the lamb is drained place into a mixing bowl and begin to shred or pull using 2 forks to break down the lamb.

4. Then we want to add some flavour to the lamb, in a small separate pan add a drizzle of oil then add 1 finely sliced shallot, 4 finely minced garlic cloves and 1 finely chopped lemongrass stalk. Fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes or until fragrant then when ready add to the lamb along with a few tbsps of the reduced marinade. Mix well and adjust the seasoning if needed by adding additional salt, pepper or fish sauce.

5. To roll out the lamb add a generous amount of the mix onto clingfilm in a line. I found with this amount of mix I was able to make 2 rolls of lamb or 4-6 portions depending on size. Next we want to wrap the lamb up into the clingfilm leaving a small gap at each corner. Use the corners to twist and to tighten up the cylinder by rolling to assist. When the lamb is nice and tight place into the fridge and allow to set overnight or for at least 6 hours.


6. We want to begin making up the other components of this dish once the lamb is set. Starting with the satay, in a dry pan add 75g of unsalted peanuts and toast. We next want to hydrate 10-15 dried red chillies in hot water for a few minutes until soft. Now to make up the paste for the satay, in a food processor add 2 roughly chopped shallots, 2 bruised and chopped lemongrass, 4 peeled garlic, 10-15 dried hydrated red chillies (seeds in optional), 20g finely sliced galangal, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 50ml cooking oil and finally all of the toasted peanuts. Pulse the spices until a paste is formed adding additional oil if too dry.

7. Now that we have the base for the satay we want to bring things to life. Start by making a simple tamarind stock by adding 20g of tamarind pulp to approximately 800ml of hot water. Allow the tamarind pulp to infuse and break down in the water. Next in a sauce pan add a small drizzle of oil then place onto a medium heat. Add the paste and fry for 5 minutes stirring constantly until fragrant. When fragrant add 2 tbsp of palm sugar then add some of the tamarind stock. Cook and reduce the satay for 15-20 minutes to enable all the ingredients to do there thing.

8. When the satay is ready we want to season by adding 2 tbsp of shaved palm sugar and 2 tbsp of fish sauce (add additional if needed). To make the satay slightly more textured and rich also add 2 tbsp of smooth peanut butter. When satisfied with the seasoning remove the satay from the heat then add the juice of 1 fresh lime. The satay is ready, although, for this dish I then passed the sauce through a fine sieve to make the satay silky smooth. Passing the sauce is completely optional however. When satisfied place the satay to one side for now.

Pickles and Herbs:

9. Just before we move onto cooking the lamb we want to think about the pickles, traditionally satay is served with various pickles and they help cut through the fat when eating the lamb. For the carrot and 1/2 a cucumber use a peeler to shave thin strips, slice the shallot whole to make rings, and finely slice 1 red chilli. In a separate bowl to make the pickle add 1 tbsp of white sugar and 3 tbsps of rice vinegar. Whisk well so that the sugar dissolves then add the juice of 1 lime. Add the vegetables, mix well and allow to pickle whilst we finish the lamb. As for the herbs simply pick and place to one side as we will add these to the pickle at the very end.

Peanut Crust:

10. The lamb peanut crust is to replace the breadcrumbs that you would normally add when you flour, egg wash and breadcrumb to make things more interesting. Add approximately 125g of peanuts to a dry pan and toast. When toasted place the peanuts into a pestle and mortar with a pinch of salt and sugar then roughly grind. Try not to make the peanuts too fine as we are looking for a bit of texture although fine enough so that they will be able to coat the lamb. Then finely chop 1 red chilli, 2 spring onions and roughly chop 1/2 bunch of coriander. Add to the crushed peanuts and mix. Then add the mix onto a small tray and in two other separate trays add 3 beaten eggs, and 75g of plain flour in the other.

11. Back to the lamb, at this point the lamb should have set and be much firmer to coat. Take out the rolled lamb and divide each cylinder into 2 or 3 depending on how large you want the portions to be. Remove the clingfilm from the lamb and we are ready to coat.