Monday, January 4, 2010

Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce

Like L.A. with its taco carts, Thailand has its own street food, and that is grilled Chicken Satay. The Chef has only been to Thailand through travel cooking shows like Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" and food websites that describe street vendor food, but he likes nothing better than pulling over to the curb to investigate what's cooking on the corner. And now the Chef brings his whisk to this corner of Southeast Asia.

Skewered Grilled Chicken Satay may be a humble dish, but it seems to be a favorite on the party circuit - I had it recently at an opening for an exhibition of movie posters at the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills. Not many street vendor dishes make it that far. For your own party, The Chef will show you how easy it is to make a platter of these tender and flavorful fowl fillets.

Chicken breast and skinned, boneless leg quarters are available for 99 cents or less at local Latin markets. There is little preparation to do; just slice into strips for skewering. Chicken breasts are simple to fillet -- just slide the knife blade along the middle breast bone and see how easily the flesh separates. Dark meat is the most foolproof -- it doesn't dry out as easily as white, and works best for a party where the cooked skewer satay may set out awhile.

The chicken strips must then be marinated in a mixture of condensed milk, powdered ginger and cumin. Without bones or skin, the chicken skewers cook in 5 minutes, so you can leave the chicken marinating until the last minute for a quick grill or broil. If you are cooking ahead of time, dark meat is better; white meat tends to dry out. Either way, set aside some coconut cream for basting, to help keep cooked chicken moist while it stays covered and warm in the stove. But there is nothing better than chicken satay hot off the grill !
To make a tasty Thai-style dipping sauce, mix peanut butter into heated coconut milk or coconut cream.

This dish pairs perfectly with my Thai Cucumber Salad and Coconut Rice. Just click on the names to see my recipes.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
  • 2 whole chicken breasts - or about 2 lbs white or dark meat
  • 1 can (about 11 ounces) of condensed milk - OK to substitute 13oz. can of coconut cream or milk. Reserve a tablespoon for Peanut Dipping Sauce.
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin or curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger - optional

Peanut Dipping Sauce 
  • 1/2 can of coconut cream or milk
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter  - I used a cheap smooth type.
  • 1 tbsp. condensed milk (optional)
The dipping sauce is made by mixing coconut cream, condensed milk and peanut butter together in a saute pot. Heat and mix until blended, about 5 minutes. Set aside until serving time. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Soak bamboo skewers in water. In a large bowl add condensed milk (or coconut milk) and mix in cumin and ginger. Reserve 1/4 cup of marinade for basting when grilling. On a cutting board slice chicken into strips or cubes. If you are using whole chicken breast it is easy to slice along middle bone/cartilage to remove large fillets to cut into strips. Dark meat thighs take a bit more work; the meat does not seperate from the bone as easily, but it is the cheapest way to go. I do find 99 cent per pound boneless chicken on sale at my local Latin market once a month.

Add sliced or cubed cut chicken to condensed milk bowl. Allow to marinate an hour or more covered in the refrigerator.

Heat your grill or broiler oven. Thread chicken pieces onto bamboo skewers. This is messy, so assemble skewers on a large platter. Grill or broil for 2 -3 minutes each side for white meat; dark meat may need an extra minute more. Use extra marinade or coconut milk for basting during grilling. Because the meat has no bone, it cooks fast. It is easy to overcook so keep an eye on it. Serve with Peanut Dipping Sauce on the side or in a shallow dish.


Dinahsoar said...

Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious! I never thought of this! I can;t wait to try this recipe!
dining table

Shell said...

I may be in love.

Have you tried chunky peanut butter in the sauce, it adds that extra kick.

99 Cent Chef said...

Hi Shelley, chunky peanut butter is always better!

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