Give that Chicken Satay a Good Marinade
Chicken Satay is one of the easiest dinners to make on a hot summer’s night. With a little forethought and planning, you can have the chicken marinating all night long (Lionel Ritchie style) or even just for a few hours in the afternoon. If you’re like me you’ll probably forget to start the recipe the night before anyway. As long as you give them a few hours to soak up all those awesome Thai flavours of lemongrass, chilies, fish sauce, and turmeric they’ll taste mighty fine.
The great thing about this recipe is, though it looks complicated you just need to throw all the marinade ingredients in a blender and press start. Depending on your local grocery scene, the ingredients shouldn’t be too difficult to find. Galangal and fresh turmeric may be a bit difficult to find though they are worth seeking out for a bit of freshness. Luckily they have acceptable substitutes that don’t really change the flavour of the finished dish.
The cool thing about this recipe is that you can do it any time of year. While you would achieve the most intense flavour by grilling the skewers, you can also broil them in the oven. Place your oven rack at the highest setting and crank up that broiler. Don’t forget to turn them over halfway through or you’ll be stuck ordering Thai takeout.
Make a Meal Out of It
Before you run out and start your grills…get a start on the rest of the dinner. I’ve included the recipe for a great Peanut Satay sauce as well because you just can’t have Chicken Satay skewers without Peanut Sauce. Start some rice in the rice cooker, toss up a green salad, and dinner is DONE! Who can resist meat on sticks? I sure can’t!
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Classic Thai Chicken Satay
Classic Thai Chicken Satay
- 8-12 skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
- 1 package wooden skewers SATAY
- SATAY MARINADE
- 1/4 cup minced lemongrass , fresh or frozen
- 2 shallots OR 1 small onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic; minced
- 1-2 fresh red chilies, sliced, OR 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, to taste
- 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. minced fresh turmeric OR 1/2 tsp. dried turmeric
- 2 Tbsp. ground coriander
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 3 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 4 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 5-6 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- FOR THE PEANUT SAUCE
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter 1/3 cup water
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp. sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 to 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, depending on desired saltiness/flavor
- 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice (I like to add more)
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1 tsp. Thai chili sauce (more or less to taste)
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
MethodFOR THE SATAY
- If using wooden skewers, soak them in water while you prepare the meat (to prevent burning). I put mine in the kitchen sink.
- Cut chicken into thin strips and place in a bowl.
- Place marinade ingredients in a food processor and process well.
- Taste the marinade – you will taste sweet, spicy, and salty. The strongest tastes should be SWEET and SALTY. Add more sugar or more fish sauce (in place of salt) to adjust the taste. You can also add more chili if you want it spicier.
- Pour the marinade over the meat and stir well to combine. Allow at least 1 hour for marinating, or longer (up to 24 hours).
- When ready to cook: Thread meat onto the skewers, leaving the lower half empty so that the person grilling has a “handle” to easily turn the satay during cooking.
- Grill the satay on your BBQ, OR on an indoor grill, basting the first time you time it with a little of the leftover marinade from the bottom of the bowl (remember there was raw chicken in the marinade so you don't want to baste all the way through the cooking process)
- OR you can broil in the oven on a broiling pan or baking sheet with the oven set to “broil” Place satay close beneath the heating element and turn the meat every 5 minutes until cooked (be sure to soak your wooden satay sticks in water before skewering). Depending on how thin your meat is, the satay should cook in 10 to 20 minutes.
- Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until sauce is smooth. If you prefer a runnier peanut sauce, add a little more water or coconut milk.
- Do a taste test, adding more fish sauce (or soy sauce) if not salty enough, or more cayenne if not spicy enough. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If you’d prefer it sweeter, add a little more sugar.