Chicken satay with peanut sauce is a delightful treat that takes a bit of time to make, but is well worth the effort. Many years ago, I was handed a great book on Asian cooking by a dear friend. One of the best recipes in it is chicken satay with peanut sauce. I followed the recipe to the letter for the first few times and over time, I adapted it to what I’m presenting here.
Ask anyone who’s ever had chicken satay and they’ll tell you about its delicate complexity. As for the peanut sauce; if made right, a standard of delicious is set that is hard to surpass.
When I attempt to replicate food from another culture, my primary goal is to keep it as authentic as I can. If I want something geared to my western palate, I can visit my local supermarket for a crude pantomime of someone else’s cuisine. It’s the same premise under which I travel, when I do; I want to experience the real version of it.
As I’m unable to travel at present, like most people. So I seek the next best thing: the experience of tastes and smells that come with traveling. The food aspect is one of the main reasons I travel in the first place. When visiting other countries, it’s a great disservice to not indulge the local palates. I’m reminded of being in Rome and getting stopped by a tourist who asked where he could find a Mcdonald’s.
Now, I’ve yet to visit southeast Asia (it’s on my bucket list). So in the meantime I can settle for the next best thing by eating the food I’d want while there. I’m grateful I live in a major pacific rim city where I can find ingredients that are conducive to getting that next-best-thing food experience. Fish sauce, tamarind, soy sauces of varying shades and a myriad of spices are such a joy. Having them on hand is also a joy to play about with when feeling creative.
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
- Mortar & pestle (or a spice grinder), skewers, frying pan, food processor, sheet pan, oven.
- 3 whole chicken breasts filets attached if you can get it
- 1 tsp coriander whole seeds are best, but ground is ok.
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 slice lemon grass roughly 1-2" in length
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 10-13 skewers however many strips you can get out of the chicken breasts.
- 150gr/5oz peanuts whole or chopped will work
- 1 Tbsp veg oil olive oil would work as well
- 1 whole small onion or two shallots fine diced
- 1 clove fresh garlic minced
- 1-2 whole small chillies seeded and minced
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp tamarind paste or sauce
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup lime juice
8-24 Hours ahead of time….
- Cut the chicken into long, thin strips and thread, zig-zag onto skewers. Place in a glass container for marinating
- Dry fry the coriander and fennel seeds until they release their natural fragrance (about 7 minutes or so). Once cooled a bit, grind in a mortar & pestle (or a spice grinder) and return to the pan with the rest of the marinade ingredients and simmer just long enough to mix all the marinade togeter (about 2-3 minutes).
- Allow the marinade to cool (otherwise it will cook the chicken instead of marinating it) and coat the skewered chicken with it. Store in the fridge for 8-24 hours.
Making the sauce…
- Fry the peanuts with a bit of oil until toasted (about10-15 minutes) stirring constnatly to avoid burning. Remove, let cool for a few moments, place in a food processor and blend until consistently smooth. Put the pan back on the heat.
- Heat the oil, soften the garlic, onion and chili pepper; add the remainder of the sauce ingredients and simmer briefly until thouroughly mixed. Remove from heat and add to the peanuts in the food processor.
- Blend until smooth and put aside. It's ready.
Cooking the skewers….
- Preheat your oven to 375F
- Lay the skewers on a papered sheetpan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve with the peanut sauce in a side dish for dipping.Enjoy!