Put the chicken or beef pieces in a mixing bowl. Add the lemongrass, onion, oil, ginger, and spices and seasonings. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.
Heat a grill, preferably charcoal, to medium-high. Meanwhile, remove chicken or beef from marinade and skewer (if using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them for 30 minutes prior to using). Grill for 3 to 5 minutes or until cooked through, turning halfway through.
Serve with Peanut Sauce and rice cakes and garnish with cucumber and onion.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, shrimp paste, turmeric, lemongrass, and chiles. Stir to combine and cook over medium heat until fragrant and onion is soft. Add coconut milk and water and bring to a boil. Add sugar, salt, and peanuts. Stir constantly over medium heat and simmer until the sauce thickens. Remove the lemongrass stalk and serve warm or at room temperature.