In Southeast Asia, satay is everywhere. Malaysian-style chicken satay with peanut sauce is especially popular. It is sold street-side by hawkers, it is served in high-end restaurants and it is a fixture at parties and get-togethers. Because the climate in Southeast Asia is especially conducive for outdoor grilling, satay can be enjoyed year-round.
What is satay? It is skewered and grilled marinated meat often accompanied by a dipping sauce. It originated in Java, Indonesia and has become popular throughout Southeast Asia including Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and Singapore.
Satay is traditionally grilled over charcoal which gives the meat a distinctive smoky flavor. But if you can grill outdoors or if your grill is powdered by gas or electricity, you can cook chicken satay on it too.
The skewer? The skewer can be anything from coconut fronds, to lemongrass to bamboo.
- 800 grams boneless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 4 heaping tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/3 cup light soy sauce (I used Kikkoman)
- juice of half a lime or lemon
- 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 3-4 bird's eye chilies finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Depending on their size, cut each chicken thigh fillet into 4 to 6 pieces.
- In a large bowl, place the rest of the ingredients. Beat with a wire whisk until smooth. Add the chicken pieces, mix well, rubbing the marinade into the meat with your hands. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge for at least two hours.
- While the chicken marinates, soak 12 to 18 bamboo skewers in water to prevent them from burning on the grill.
- Thread the marinated chicken in the bamboo skewers (5 pieces per skewer is a good number).
- Make the dipping sauce. In a small sauce pan, simmer the remaining marinade until thickened, about 15 minutes.
- Grill the chicken at least six inches from the heat (peanut butter burns fast), 4 to 5 minutes per side depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
- Serve the grilled chicken satay with the dipping sauce on the side.
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