I'm becoming really obsessed with all foods Asian these days and last night worked up my courage to make something that is an all-time fav - either on the street when traveling or as a light starter to a nice restaurant meal. Satay.
Again, as I'm learning in my culinary adventures, nothing is really hard. I fought forest fires for 2.5 years in my late teens/early twenties. THAT was hard work. Making a satisfying and delish meal is nothing more than focus and thought and assembly and attention to detail. And as such my first try at Satay was a complete success. That is, not to say, it can't get better. I think my dipping sauce could have been a bit better. It was a little thick. But I get ahead of myself.
- A couple lbs (two large) skinless, boneless chicken breast chopped into large cubes.
- 1/2 cup of hippie peanut butter, chinky if you can find it -- you know the stuff, runny and gooey that you have to stir to thicken properly
- 1 table spoon (to taste/heat sensibilities) Thai chile paste. I tend toward hot, but your milage may vary.
- 3/4 a cup of unsweetened coconut milk
- The juice of two limes
- A splash of pineapple juice
- A medium grip of roasted coconut flakes
A hot grill (600-700 degrees)
So, first you make your sauce/marinade
Plop the peanut butter into a sauce pan over medium heat and add the rest of the sauce ingredients, whisking it into submission until its creamy and smooth. Don't let it come to boil, we're not cooking it, we're simply blending flavors. Different levels of chemistry altogether.
When it's the consistency you want (creamy but not too soupy) pour it over the chicken chunks in a large bowl, toss them about a bit to get them completely coated and then cover with cloth and let it the whole aromatic mess* sit and think about itself for 1-3 hours.
* it's not super pretty at this point, but smells amazing.
When it's grilling time, take your skewers out of the water and load em up with chicken, packed tightly, almost as if you're trying to reassemble the chicken to it's pre chopped state.
Slap em on the grill and turn semi-frequently with tongs until they are firmly crusted over on all sides and cooked through. This is pretty quick, maybe 15 mins tops depending on how big your chicken chunks are. The end result is a crackle at first bite and an extraordinary juicy, tasty finish. Best satay I've ever had. I reserved a tiny bowl of the marinade to use as a dipping sauce and dusted the chicken with chopped cilantro and another squirt of lime juice to finish.
The results are about the prettiest thing to ever come off my grill; chicken that looks like golden ore and smells like heaven.
For a side I also grilled some fresh cut pineapple spears. Same grill, but just about 8 minutes, with one flip -- to just char them a bit.
The pineapples and a quick three bean salad made this a super satisfying, high protein healthy meal.