I found out we have a late-opening Asian supermarket in town. My saviour! They do sell powdered satay sauce, though not the type I'd prefer, as it isn't the "add water" but the "add coconut milk" variety, and that's a hassle, but it's better than nothing. And they had dried pak choi, mushrooms, sea weed, water chestnuts... I bought a selection. And they had veggie satay skewers! But experience has taught me not all of that is palatable, so I decided to make a try-out meal of my new purchases.
The first thing I found out was good. The pak choi, mushrooms, and sea weed are soft after only soaking in water for 2.5 minutes. The chestnuts weren't. (That turned out to take hours.) The second thing I found out was that if you combine the satay sauce with water, milk powder and thickening granules, it becomes recognisable sauce. Good! The third and fourth discovery weren't so good; the food wasn't really tasty (the sea weed and the skewers have to go; the pak choi and mushrooms are OK) and the chestnuts were still hard after an hour. But the sauce did wonders.
The result: it looks quite nice, actually! But it clearly needs improvement.
That all helped me in my dinner design: I have to think of some additional ingredients to compensate for the seaweed, the chestnuts and the skewers, and I have to go back for powdered coconut. And then try again. I'll be eating a lot of noodles the coming days!