Satay Lilit Ikan (Balinese Minced Seafood Satay)

Recipes | Barbecuing | Pastes, Marinades, Dressings & Sauces | Skewers Serves 6 as an entrée (makes 18 pieces) Satay Lilit Ikan (Balinese Minced Seafood Satay)

Satay lilit is a specialty of the Indonesian island of Bali. Made from minced seafood or meat mixed with grated coconut and a spice paste, it can be moulded onto bamboo paddles, lengths of sugar cane or, as we’ve done here, lemongrass. Traditionally it’s grilled over charcoal. Sate pusut, from neighbouring Lombok, is similar. If you have trouble getting fresh coconuts, mix ¾ cup shredded coconut with ¼ cup hot water and stand for 20 minutes or so until water is absorbed. Unlike many other satays, satay lilit isn’t traditionally served with peanut sauce; we’ve added a fresh pineapple salsa.


500g green Prawns, peeled, deveined and chopped
350g Tailor fillets, skin off, bones removed and chopped
1 cup freshly grated coconut (see above)
6 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded (see notes)
1 tablespoon dark palm sugar
9 thin stalks lemongrass, cut into 20cm lengths 
Peanut oil, for rolling
Steamed jasmine rice, for serving

Satay Lilit Paste
6 red shallots, peeled and sliced (see notes)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, finely sliced
5cm piece fresh turmeric, grated
3cm piece galangal, grated
2 long red chillies, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon belacan, toasted (see notes)
¼ cup peanut oil

Pineapple Salsa
1 Lebanese cucumber, seeded and finely diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
¼ pineapple, finely diced
10 mint leaves, finely shredded


Make Satay Lilit Paste: combine all ingredients, except peanut oil, in a food processor and process into a fine paste. Heat peanut oil in a frying pan, add paste and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Make Pineapple Salsa: combine all ingredients and set aside.

Place prawns and fish in a food processor and process to a coarse paste. Mix with Satay Paste, coconut, kaffir lime and sugar. With wet hands, separate the paste into 18 balls. Mould each ball around the thick half of a length of lemongrass, roll in a little peanut oil and place on a tray in a single layer.

Heat a barbecue or char-grill plate.

Cook skewers for about 2 minutes each side, until cooked through. Serve with rice and Pineapple Salsa.


Kaffir lime leaves are available from fruit and vegetable shops; they’re usually joined in pairs, 1 lime leaf equals 1 pair. If red shallots are unavailable, use 3 large golden shallots or 1 red onion.

Belacan (available from Asian grocery stores) is Malaysian fermented shrimp paste, also sometimes written belachan or blachan; to toast it, wrap in aluminium foil and place under a high grill for 3-5 minutes, until aromatic.

Alternative species:

Mackerel, Mullet, Tuna (other oily fish).

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