ShaCha(沙茶) is a complicated sauce, it was derived from “Satay” sauce of Indonesian region. ShaCha Venison Stir-Fry is fast and simple, but very flavorful. It makes a delicious main dish to serve with rice, turn into noodles stir-fry, or an amazing taco filling! (Trust me, we’ve been having those for a whole week and we’re still in love!)
We’re in transition from winter to spring here in MN, fresh spinach is out, onions from last year still available and with some venison a friend shot for us- this dish is created. Doesn’t get much fresher than this.
It was uninspiring and a bit boring when I was looking up recipes for venison. I decided to do what I know best- experiment. Using classic Taiwanese techniques and flavors with different ingredients to create something new.
You can find venison at some local butcher shops, or try your local Farmers Market if you don’t hunt. Though selling wild venison is illegal here, Rochester Farmers Markets have elk and bison available for purchase!
People often over cook venison and it can get really tough if it’s overcooked. Stir-frying seems to work perfectly for venison. The technique is to flash-fry the venison until the outside is cooked and remove from heat before putting the dish together. Thinly slicing the venison helps with the cooking process too.
Beef works just fine with this recipe if venison isn’t available to you.
ShaCha Sauce 沙茶醬
It’s always fun to see how food’s change from its origin and become a different kind of classic in another region. ShaCha is an adaptation of SE Asia’s “Satay/ Sa Teh”. It was brought to ChaoZhou(潮州), China and people there made it their own. When the ROC government brought their soldiers to Taiwan, the sauce came with it and was adapted again. ShaCha is a sauce made from many many things… think of it like curry paste. It’s consists of a wide range of spices and ingredients, often dried seafood.
Though the label of the can often say “BBQ Sauce”, this sauce is so much more complicated than that. It’s used in stir-fry, simple dipping sauce, BBQ sauce, noodle broth, and sometimes in hotpots. It’s a very versatile seasoning and adds depths to cooking.
- 2 TBsp Soy Sauce
- 1 lb Venison Tender Loin Thinly sliced (2mm)
- 1 TBsp Corn Starch
- 1/4 C Vegetable Oil or Other cooking oil
- 5 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 Small Onion Thinly sliced
- 2 Sprigs of Spring Onion Chopped into 1.5″ pieces
- 2 Fresh Thai Chili (only if you like it hot) finely chopped
- 4 TBsp ShaCha Sauce
- 2 TBsp Soy Sauce
- Fresh Spinach Chopped into 1.5″ pieces
- Thinly slice the venison loin, it’s easiest to do so when the meat is half frozen. Add 2 TBsp soy sauce and 1TBsp corn starch and mix well. Set aside while you prep for the rest of the ingredients.
- After all the ingredients are prepped, heat up 1/4C Oil in a pan or a wok. We’re going flash fry the venison. Add the venison to the pan and fry until the color has turned, do not overcook and it’s ok if the center is still raw. Turn the heat off and remove from the pan.
- With the oil that’s left in the pan, heat up the oil again on medium high. Add the minced garlic, the whites of the spring onion and fry until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. (Add your Thai chili now if desired)
- Add the thinly sliced onion to the pan and fry until the onions have softened, about 1 minute.
- Add 4 TBsp of ShaCha Sauce to the pan, stir and break up and big chunks, add 2TBsp Soy Sauce and the half-cooked venison and stir till it’s evenly coated and seasoned. (1 min)
- Add the chopped spinach and the rest of the spring onion, turn the heat off and let the spinach wilt while stirring. Taste and add a bit more salt if desired.
- Plate and serve!