Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

One of the first Thai dishes I remember eating is chicken satay. My parents used to order it as an appetizer when I was a kid and me and my sister would devour it. Apparently not much has changed in 20 years since we did exactly that last night. Chicken satay is another one of those foods that I've been wanting to make for years, but always seemed to forget about. Or I would go the easy way out and buy peanut sauce and grill plain chicken. But, now that I've had this marinated chicken version, I don't think I'll take the easy way out (unless I only have 10 minutes to prepare and make a meal).

Even if you don't feel like making a homemade peanut sauce, try this marinade. The chicken tasted amazing even without the sauce, but once you combine the two together, it is delicious. It tastes exactly the way I remember the chicken satay of my childhood and is now one of my favorite chicken recipes. Though it uses lots of dishes (blender, bowl, cutting board, zester, etc...) it is pretty easy to make, and the peanut sauce and marinade can be made ahead of time. You can even freeze the extra peanut sauce since it yields a lot more than you need, and you'll probably be glad to have it around.

When I made this yesterday, I didn't have any fish sauce or dark soy sauce at home, and the not-so-awesome grocery store nearby was out of fish sauce as well. I don't think that these ingredients are necessary since the chicken satay turned out really well, but feel free to try using them if you want to experiment with different Asian flavors. You can also replace the cayenne pepper in the peanut sauce with some Thai chili paste, but I haven't tried that variation yet. The ingredients can be tweaked a lot in this recipe until you find the flavor that is right for you. The ones listed here are the proportions that I used and really enjoyed.

Adapted from Ellie Krieger and Darlene Schmidt
Serves 4

For the Chicken:
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce)
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breast pounded slightly and cut into 1-inch strips

For the Peanut Sauce:
1 cup dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoons dark soy sauce (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons brown sugar (I used 2)
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or 2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce)
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced

For the Garnish:
chopped cilantro
crushed peanuts

In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken stock, coconut milk, soy sauce, shallot, garlic, soy sauce/fish sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, and ginger. Add the chicken strips and marinade for at least 1 hour.

In the meantime, prepare the peanut sauce by placing all of the ingredients in a blender and blending until smooth. If you want your sauce to be less thick, add more coconut milk or chicken stock. You can also adjust the flavor of the peanut sauce if something is not to your liking. For more saltiness, add some soy sauce or fish sauce. For more spice, add extra cayenne pepper. If it's too salty, add a little more lime juice. If you want a sweeter sauce, add more brown sugar.

Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high. Thread the chicken strips onto skewers (if using bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes). Spray with cooking spray and grill the chicken until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Serve the chicken with warm or room temperature peanut sauce and top with cilantro and peanuts. Pin It Now!

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