Satay It Ain’t So!
Well before I learned how friggin’ easy it was to make satay, I would order them every time I had Thai food. There was something about the coconut milk bath that made the chicken so incredibly tender – I just couldn’t get enough. This recipe is not only simple, but also a nice alternative to your traditional barbecue. Throw your guests a curve ball and make some satay instead of the usual grilled chicken – it works great as not only an appetizer, but also as an entree with rice or as a protein in a deconstructed salad. I even wrap them in lettuce leaves sometimes for a hand-held treat.
The chicken gets an added kick from some crucial condiments – peanut sauce (make your own or buy a jar at the store) and a spicy, sweet cucumber relish. The relish is usually prepared with slivers of red onion, slices of cucumber and bits of thai bird chilies. I, on the other hand, make mine as a thai pico de gallo by dicing all of the ingredients and mixing with rice wine vinegar and cilantro.
The sauce gets a bit of heat from the red curry paste, a fragrant combination of red chilies, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. If you don’t like things so spicy, leave out a tablespoon of the red curry. You can also add a squeeze of lime to the marinade to brighten up the works. I use chicken thighs because they are flavorful and don’t dry out easily, but you can use chicken breasts if you prefer them. This is best on the grill outdoors, but you can certainly use a grill pan or the broiler in a pinch.
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
1 1/2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 tbs. of red curry paste
3 tbs. of fish sauce
2 cl. of garlic, minced or microplaned
2 tsp. of salt
1 can of coconut milk
Whisk the red curry paste, fish sauce, garlic, salt and coconut milk until smooth. Slice the chicken thighs into thirds and add to marinade. Refrigerate overnight.
Heat a grill to smoking hot. Shake the excess marinade from the chicken and grill until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Served with peanut sauce and cucumber relish.
1/2 of a cucumber, finely diced
1/2 of a jalapeno, finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
3 tbs. of cilantro, chopped
4 tbs. of rice wine vinegar
2 tbs. of water
1/4 tsp. of sesame oil
1/4 tsp. of salt
1 tsp. of sugar
Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Put in the refrigerator to chill. Serve cool with piping hot chicken satay.