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Two mouth-watering kebab recipes that won’t break the bank

Whether it's beef, pork or chicken satay, here are two budget-friendly ways to make these crowd pleasers

03 March 2021 - 11:28 By hilary biller
Scrumptious pork kebabs.
Scrumptious pork kebabs.
Image: Hilary Biller

Munching on a kebab offers a fun way to eat and a more legit way of eating with one’s fingers as you navigate your way around the morsels on the stick. 

Kebabs are also a great way of stretching the good stuff, namely the protein, without anyone feeling short-changed or compromising on quality.

A good crowd food, around the world sticks have been incorporated into different cultures.  

The Thais do it deliciously with satay, or slivers of marinated chicken threaded onto bamboo sticks and dipped into a spicy peanut sauce.

The Portuguese favour espetada, chunks of beef marinated in wine, dipped in salt and skewered on a bay tree stick and cooked over the flames.

Closer to home who can resist a sosatie, cubes of lamb and the fat marinated in a curry sauce sweetened with apricot jam, threaded onto a wooden skewer and cooked over the coals.

The beauty of a kebab is that you can use almost any ingredients — think prawns, chicken, calamari, cubes of firm white fish and vegetables.

Hilary Biller shares two ideas.


Makes: 4-6


8 wooden or bamboo sticks

400g pork (or beef) steak, cut into blocks

1 punnet button mushrooms

1 large red onion, cut into wedges

3 -4  baby marrows, sliced in chunks

8 cocktail tomatoes, not the tiny ones

½ chorizo sausage, sliced into chunks, optional though it adds to the juiciness



1 clove of garlic, crushed

2cm piece of ginger, finely grated

60ml (4 tbsp) soy sauce

5- 10ml (1-2 tsp) chilli sauce

30ml (2 tbsp) chutney

Rind and juice of 1 small orange or 60ml (¼ cup) fresh orange juice


  1. Place wooden or bamboo kebab sticks in container and cover with water. This prevents them from burning during cooking.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add the meat, mushrooms, onion and baby marrow chunks and leave for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the kebab sticks from the water and thread the ingredients removed from the marinade alternatively with the meat, mushroom, onion and baby marrow and  interspersed with a cocktail tomato and chorizo slices if using. Depending on the length of the kebab stick, repeat. Just before cooking brush with oil and grill or cook over the coals, turning frequently until the meat is just cooked and the vegetables have softened, then serve.
Chicken satay with peanut sauce. File image.
Chicken satay with peanut sauce. File image.
Image: 123RF/ tang90246


Serves: 6-8


16 bamboo kebab sticks, soaked in water

400g chicken breast fillets, cut into strips lengthways

15ml (1 tbsp) tamarind purée

10ml (2 tsp) ground  coriander

5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 red chilli, seeded and chopped

1 piece of lemon grass, lightly crushed

2cm fresh ginger, finely grated

2.5ml (½ tsp) turmeric

250ml (1 cup) coconut milk

Peanut sauce:

100ml peanut butter

1 clove of garlic, crushed

30ml (2 tbsp) soya sauce

Juice of 1 lime

10ml (2 tsp) fish sauce

Coconut milk


  1. For the chicken marinade combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix until smooth.
  2. Add the chicken strips and leave to marinate for at least 1-2 hours in the fridge.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread each onto a bamboo stick concertina style and set aside.
  4. Combine the peanut butter for the sauce in a small pot over a low heat and, stirring, add the garlic, soya sauce, lime juice and fish sauce.
  5. Add sufficient coconut milk for the consistency of a coating dipping sauce.
  6. Cook the chicken satay over the coals, turning frequently, then serve with the peanut sauce.