Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I was in the mood for something different. I'm not huge on Oriental food, but chicken satay was on my mind, so I searched the internet for recipes and came up with 4 to try. But I was short on ingredients. I thought of my friend, Sara, who is Thai, and asked if I could bum some of the ingredients from her. She offered to show me her version of chicken satay. Since she's Thai, I thought, how could I go wrong? Sara came over with her ingredients, and we made chicken satay together. Sara's hubby, Tom, was working a wedding (he's a photographer), and she was going to be eating alone, so I invited her to eat with us. She brought tortilla-crusted pork and a Thai cucumber salad; I made coconut rice. It was a delightful meal of different tastes. Although I still want to try some other chicken satay recipes only because I like to experiment, I was totally blown away with this recipe, especially the peanut sauce. (Sorry, totally forgot to take a photo.) And so was fussy Guy. You may have to go to an Oriental store to find the red curry paste, but it's amazing stuff. Sara says you can make this spicy hot or mild and mellow, depending on how much of the curry paste you add. The recipe that follows is medium-hot. At first, you won't taste the heat, then after a minute or so, it will kick in. When you're done eating, there will just be a nice tingle in your mouth. Sara makes her peanut sauce thicker than others, because she says it sticks to the meat better. And here's another idea: Thin the sauce with lime juice and use it as a salad dressing. Or spread the sauce, as is without thinning, on crackers for a great snack. Peanut sauce is going to be a staple in my kitchen from now on.

Sara's Thai Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
Rating: 9 out of 10
Chicken Satay:
3/4 lb. boneless chicken breast, sliced crosswise into thin strips
1/8 tsp. turmeric
3-4 Tbsp. coconut milk
pinch of sea salt
4-5 wooden skewers

Peanut Sauce:
1/4 cup coconut milk (we used full-fat, but lite is ok)
1 tsp. red curry paste
1/4 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter (we used chunky)
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. sugar

Put the chicken satay ingredients in a small resealable plastic bag and massage to distribute ingredients well. Press out air and seal bag. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour or longer. Soak skewers in warm water.
In the meantime, make peanut sauce: Heat coconut milk with curry paste over low heat, stirring with spatula till smooth. Add remaining ingredients and continue stirring till it just starts to bubble. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more curry paste if it's not hot enough. Sauce can stay on the stove, covered, until it's time to eat.
Preheat charcoal or inside grill to 400F. Thread chicken on the skewers and cook till done, about 10 minutes, turning once. Spoon the peanut sauce into a dish. Guests spoon some sauce onto their plate and dip their chicken into it. Sauce is also good over coconut rice with chopped peanuts sprinkled on top.

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