Loyal readers of this column know that I’ve done my share of chicken recipes. No yolk. Fried chicken, BBQ chicken, chicken fricassee, paella, and I’m chickened out. We’ve covered everything from Rhode Island Red Combs to ol’ Foghorn Leghorn.
Well no more egg on my face.
In my world travels I made a stop in Java for a cup of Kono and I happened upon an Indonesian dish with chicken that literally skewered my taste buds. Sweet and salty, this fowl was by far one of the most upper-class street foods I have experienced. I am of course referring to Chicken Satay.
Satay can be found throughout Southeast Asia, and it usually features chicken, but some use pork, and in other ethnic cultures it can be made with Malaysian horse meat, Korean dog or wharf rats from Brunei. Anyway you sample it, it’s good food.
Do not confuse Satay with the popular diva Sade, another Third World treasure with a sultry voice. She’s a smooth operator. The thing that separates Satay from other poultry preparations is the dipping sauce. It’s a peanut sauce, and I know you are sitting back thinking, peanut butter and chicken? What the…? Well March1 is National Peanut Butter Day, so this comes up naturally.
Thai Peanut Sauce
1 Cup Dry Roasted Peanuts or 1 Cup Crunchy Peanut Butter
¼ Cup Water
2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Smashed
1 Tsp. Soy Sauce
2 Tsp. Sesame Oil
2 Tbs. Brown Sugar
1 Tsp. Fish Sauce
1 Tsp. Tamarind
1 Tsp. Chili Sauce
¼ cup Coconut Milk
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Serve at room temp.
This is a kick-ass peanut sauce with sweet, salty and spicy flavors. But let’s get to the star of the show.
Chicken Satay is done on a grill, skewered with wooden sticks but the secret is the marinade.
Chicken Thighs and/or Breasts, cut into bite size chunks
Wooden Skewers, Soaked in Water
¼ Cup Fresh Lemongrass, Peeled and Minced
1 Onion, Diced
3 Cloves Garlic, Smashed and Minced
2 Thai Chili Peppers, Minced
1 Tbs. Ginger
2 Tbs. Cilantro, Chopped
2 Tsp. Cumin
2 Tbs. Soy Sauce
¼ Cup Fish Sauce
4 Tbs. Brown sugar
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
Place all the marinade ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour marinade over chicken, cover and marinate twenty-four hours.
Thread meat on soaked skewers. You may alternate with onion, pepper, cherry tomatoes or mushrooms.
Grill the skewers for 5 minutes per side or until done over high heat. Meat and veggies should be a bit charred. Serve with peanut sauce.
The cool thing about this recipe is that it’s different and really easy to do at home. Try it for a patio party and bring a taste of Java home to the suburbs.
Be a smooth operator everybody.