When the aroma of this dish rises up from the cooking fire, it tantalizes the nostrils. For the best results, use a mortar and pestle to combine the ingredients but if you lack such simple tools, use a blender. We thank our friend Richard Sterling for this Cambodian recipe, gathered on one of his extensive Southeast Asian trips.
For the Marinade:
2 red serrano or jalapeño chiles, stems removed
1/4 cup lemon grass, sliced thin
6 Kaffir lime leaves or the peel of 1 lime
4 cloves garlic
1 slice or teaspoon galangal or substitute ginger
½ cup oyster sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
½ cup water
Mash or blend the chiles, lemon grass, lime leaves, garlic, and galangal together. Combine the mixture with the remaining marinade ingredients. Place the mixture in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool. Taste for sweetness--it should be present but not dominant.
In a shallow glass dish, marinate the beef on the skewers in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Grill the skewers over hot coals, keeping the beef at least four inches from the heat, lest the sugar burn, until desired doneness.
Serving suggestion: Before cooking, stick a chunk of fresh pineapple on the end of each skewer.
Serve with a salad and steamed rice.