Last weekend my parents visited and as is the usual custom when they come in, my mom and I whipped up a fantastic dinner for Friday night. As my dad likes to say, I’m the chef and my mom is the sous chef. I settled on an Asian themed meal, making dishes from Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, all of which I’ll be blogging about separately.
While the summer has been pretty lousy here in Pittsburgh from a weather standpoint (it seems we’ve had more rainy days than sunny ones), all of last weekend was just about perfect which meant we were able to grill the main course, Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce. In case you’re not familiar, satay is a dish of seasoned, skewered, and grilled meat that is served with a sauce. Due to its easy to eat state, it’s an extremely popular street food in Indonesia.
The marinade was incredibly simple to whip up and even threading the chicken pieces on the skewers wasn’t as bad as I had envisioned. Although I love peanut butter (usually on toast or crackers), I don’t love it on meat like some people do even though this particular combination is quite popular in Southeast Asian cuisine. However, in the case of Chicken Satay, the pairing worked.
Is this a dish you’d like to try?
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
recipe courtesy of Williams and Sonoma’s Essentials of Asian Cooking by Farina Kingsley
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup fish sauce
2 tablespoons chopped palm sugar
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into strips 3 inches long by 1 inch wide
Canola oil for brushing
For the peanut sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons minced shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1 teaspoon chile paste
1/4 cup minced unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
-In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the cilantro milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, curry powder, garlic, ginger, and cilantro and stir to mix well. Add the chicken strips and stir to coat thoroughly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
-Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat. Soak 24-32 bamboo skewers, each 8 inches long, in water to cover for 30 minutes.
-Meanwhile, to make the sauce, in a saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil. Add the shallots and garlic and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and add the coconut milk, peanut butter, tamarind paste, chile paste, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the peanuts and mix well. Transfer the peanut sauce to a bowl and set aside at room temperature.
-Drain the skewers and remove the chicken strips from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Thread the chicken strips lengthwise onto skewers, pressing them together tightly. Brush the grill rack with oil. Arrange the skewers on the rack so they are not touching one another and sear the chicken, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Move the skewers away from direct flame, cover the grill, and cook until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes longer.
-Arrange the skewers on a platter and serve at once with the peanut sauce.
MAKES 4-6 SERVINGS
Note: I served these as an entree although they’d also be great as an appetizer.