Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

At least once a season. We must have this.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or breasts if you prefer)
16 bamboo skewers (optional)
Peanut Sauce
Fresh coriander leaves
Lettuce leaves

1 T sugar
1 T vegetable oil
1 T soy sauce
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 tsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. turmeric

Cut thin (1/4 inch) slices that run the length of the chicken breast to get 16 slices.  (Leaving the chicken in the freezer for 20 minutes to harden slightly makes it easier to slice).

Place the chicken strips in a work bowl.  Add all the marinating ingredients (solids first, then the liquids) and gently toss until well mixed.  Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours and up to 24.

When ready to cook the satays, stir the chicken in its marinade and then slide each on a skewer (or skip the skewers if you prefer). 

Baste the chicken with oil or coconut milk and grill either on a barbeque that has been burning for a while and is no longer scorching hot, or under the broiler of an indoor oven. 

Cook for not much more than two minutes per side, turning to prevent any unnecessary burning.  The satays are done when they have turned golden brown and are crispy along the edges.

Serve on lettuce leaves, decorated with fresh coriander leaves and accompany each portion with a small bowl of peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce
5 oz. roasted unsalted peanuts
4 cups unsweetened coconut milk (2 cans) – don’t use “Light” version
2 T red curry paste
2 T sugar
3 T lemon juice
3 tsp. fish sauce

Blend or process the peanuts until they are fine meal.  Reserve.

Heat half the coconut milk in a saucepan at high heat and add the red curry paste.  Stir to dissolve and continue cooking at high heat for 10-12 minutes, until the oil from the coconut has risen to the surface.

Lower heat to medium-high and add processed peanuts.  Stir and add the rest of the coconut milk.  Bring to bubbling boil.  Lower heat to medium and add sugar, lemon juice and fish sauce.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce has thickened somewhat and the oil has returned to the surface.

Take off the fire and let rest for half an hour.  Stir to blend oil that has risen to the surface.  It should be the consistency of thick cream.  If thicker than that, add a couple of tablespoons of water or coconut milk and blend.

The sauce can be served lukewarm or reheated to piping hot.  Leftover sauce can be refrigerated (where it will solidify) and then reheated on a slow fire, thinned down with some water or coconut milk.  It can also be frozen and reheated another day, the same way.

An adored recipe from Simply Thai Cooking by Wandee Young & Byron Ayanoglu

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