Canada Day Special: Mojitos and Satays with Peanut Sauce

Yesterday was Canada Day. And aside from milling about with huge crowds decked out in red and white, to me, grilling is an absolute necessity. The blazing sun and cloudless skies put me in the mood for food with a Southeast Asian vibe. While the menu theme is not obviously patriotic, Canada's all about its multiculturalism, isn't it? The result was a big platter of spicy chicken satays, lemongrass shrimp skewers, grilled flatbreads, and peanut sauce.

The entire meal was pretty simple; just marinade everything and then toss it all on the grill. The shrimp were the trickiest to make and that was only because the shrimp were skewered with the lemongrass stalks. The stalks needed to be split and cut to a point in order to thread the shrimp on. The lemongrass served the dual purpose of unusual presentation and flavouring. Lemongrass is aptly named because bending or bruising the fibrous stalks releases a resiny... lemony, grassy scent.

This tropical feast was served with grilled veggies and washed down with ice cold mojitos. I'd call it a holiday well spent.


8 mint leaves, plus 1 mint sprig
1 ounce Simple Syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces white rum
1 ounce chilled club soda

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves with the Simple Syrup and lime juice. Add ice and the rum and shake well. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Stir in the club soda and garnish with the mint sprig. Makes 1 drink.

Credit to Food and Wine Magazine

Chicken Satays:


  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Thai chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless chicken breast meat, cut into 1-inch thick cubes
  • Wooden skewers


Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, add pork and let marinate 2 to 4 hours.

Preheat the grill.

Remove the pork from the marinade and thread on skewers. Grill for 7 to 8 minutes or until cooked through.

Adapted from Bobby Flay-Tropical Grilling

Lemongrass Shrimp Skewers:


1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup fish sauce

3 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. grated fresh ginger

2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro

1 Tbs. curry powder

1 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 lemongrass stalks

Store-bought or homemade peanut sauce
for dipping


In a large bowl, stir together the coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, ginger, cilantro and curry powder. Add the shrimp and stir to coat evenly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Trim the top and root end of the lemongrass stalks, then carefully cut each stalk lengthwise into 2 pieces. Remove the shrimp from the marinade; discard the marinade. Thread the shrimp onto the lemongrass stalks.

Preheat an indoor electric grill on high heat. Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray. Place the skewers on the grill and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 2 minutes per side. Arrange the skewers on a warmed platter and serve immediately with peanut sauce for dipping. Serves 4.

Credit to Williams-Sonoma: Asian

Peanut Sauce:


1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 green onion, including tender green portion,

1 piece lemongrass stalk, 3 inches long, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 Tbs. soy sauce

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. ground coriander

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili paste, or to taste


In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, peanut butter, green onion, lemongrass, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, curry powder, coriander and cumin. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until well blended.

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, thinning with water if necessary. Pour into a bowl and stir in the chili paste.

Use the sauce immediately, or cover and let stand at room temperature for up to 6 hours or refrigerate overnight. Thin with water if necessary before using. Makes about 1 cup.

Credit to Williams-Sonoma: Vegetarian For All Seasons

All images property of beets and bites

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