Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chicken Satay

I first posted this back in 2007, and it's just too good to be lost in the growing black hole that is the Internet. I think you'll find it's as good, if not better, than any you can get at your favorite Thai restaurant. Serve with peanut sauce and/or cucumber relish.

Chicken Satay
Adapted from The Food of Thailand
Serves at least 4 as an appetizer
  • 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 coriander roots roughly chopped (or 1 scant tsp celery seeds)
  • 1 knob ginger, approximately the size of an adult thumb, sliced
  • 1 tbs ground coriander
  • 1tbs ground cumin
  • 1 tbs curry powder
  • 2-3 tbs soy sauce (preferably thin soy sauce)
  • 13.5 oz can coconut milk, cream removed (reserve for use in peanut sauce)
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 3 chicken breasts (or equivalent thigh meat), sliced for skewering
  • 1 portion peanut sauce (recipe follows)

In a food processor, combine the shallots, garlic, coriander roots and ginger. Pulse until you have a uniform paste. Add the other ingredients (except chicken) and give it a few pulses to get a smooth marinade. Marinate the chicken in the fridge overnight. (This is key if you want tender, succulent breast meat.) About 45 minutes before grilling, thread the meat onto skewers. (If using wooden skewers, pre-soak them.) Pour the marinade over the skewers and set aside until ready to grill. The skewers shouldn't take more than a few minutes over direct heat.

I don't eat peanut sauce very often, but when I do, I like it spicy and savory. If you prefer a smoother sauce, omit the peanuts and use about 3/4 to 1 cup smooth peanut butter.

Peanut sauce
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (preferably unsweetened)
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 knob ginger about the size of an adult thumb, crushed or grated
  • 1 to 2 tbs massaman or yellow curry paste (panang or red work fine too)
  • reserved coconut cream from above + 5.6 oz can coconut milk
  • fish sauce, to taste
  • 1 tbs sugar (preferably palm sugar), or to taste

Heat a medium sized skillet or wok over medium-low heat. Add the coconut cream, garlic, ginger and curry paste and sautee for a few minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Once the herbs start to soften, add the peanuts, peanut butter and the coconut milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until well heated through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Keep an eye on it, because it will burn. And don't be alarmed if oil appears to be separating out; the whole lot is going to be pureed and the oil will re-incorporate. At the end, stir in the sugar and fish sauce to desired taste. Scrape the whole lot into a blender and add about 1/2 cup boiling water to start. Puree, adding more water until you get the desired consistency.

The sauce thickens in the fridge. To bring it back to the desired consistency, I reheat in the microwave on half power, stirring every 30 seconds.


No comments: