Monday, July 28, 2008

Chicken Satays - Yummy!

Yesterday we went over to the husband's grandfather's house. Gramps lives close to us, and best of all, he's got a pool that we can use whenever we like. Being as it was hotter than you know where yesterday, we decided to take him up on the invite.

The husband's father and grandfather had left, so we had the place to ourselves. We swam and splashed and floated and carried on in the blazing sun, which explains the lovely shade of coral that my skin is today.

Since the grill is right there on the patio, I decided to make up this recipe to cook. It doesn't really take a lot of prep time, and the cooking time is super fast. This is the original recipe I got from the Primal Grillwebsite, but I'll throw in some shortcuts for you to make it go even faster.

Thai Chicken Satays Served in Lettuce Leaves
Makes 16 sates; serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as an entrée
Advance Preparation: 20 minutes to 2 hours for marinating the chicken

For the chicken and marinade:

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts (I used 3 large breasts)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (in the Asian food section, NOT the Coco-Loco like you make pina-coladas with!)
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (if you don't want to buy fish sauce, substitute soy sauce)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons honey or sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric ( I couldn't find this at the store, I threw in some 5-spice powder)

For serving:

Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe below) (or, to save time, you can use bottled peanut sauce, available in the Asian food section)
1 head Boston lettuce, separated into leaves, rinsed, trimmed
Diced cucumber

Rinse the chicken breasts under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Cut the breasts lengthwise (with the grain) into 16 strips, each 4 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick. Set aside while you prepare the marinade.

Combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice, honey, garlic, and turmeric in a medium-size nonreactive bowl and whisk to blend. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss thoroughly to coat. Cover and let marinate, in the refrigerator, 20 minutes to 2 hours (the longer the better).

Preheat the grill to high.

Weave the chicken strips lengthwise onto the skewers. When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Arrange the sates on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until lightly browned and cooked through, 1 to 3 minutes per side (2 to 6 minutes in all).

Transfer the sates to serving plates and serve, accompanied by tiny bowls of the peanut sauce. To eat, place a sate on a lettuce leaf and top the chicken with a spoonful of the sauce and top with some cucumber, if desired; wrap the lettuce around the sate and pull out the skewer.

Thai Peanut Sauce

Makes about 1 cup

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 to 2 Thai, serrano, or jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced (for a spicier
sauce, leave the seeds in)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed and minced
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup coconut milk, plus more if needed to thin the sauce
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce or soy sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more to taste
2 teaspoons sugar, or more to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Combine the ginger, chile, garlic, scallions, peanut butter, 1/3 cup coconut milk, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons sugar, and the cilantro (if using) in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring well to mix, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until richly flavored, about 10 minutes. The sauce should be thick, but pourable; thin with coconut milk, if needed.

Remove from the heat and taste for seasoning, adding fish sauce, lime juice, or sugar as necessary; the sauce should be highly seasoned. Serve warm or at room temperature. The sauce will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Ok, here are my tips-

Cut the chicken breasts while they're still slightly frozen. They're easier to cut, and you can get thinner slices. I got 20 satays from 3 large chicken breasts, and they were all uniform thickness.

These babies cook fast! Watch them closely and especially watch them if you're using bamboo skewers. Make a foil shield for the front portion of the grill grate and lay the satays with the skewer resting on the foil. That way they won't burn. Or catch on fire!

Oil your grill well before putting your chicken down to prevent sticking.

Leftover satays (if their are any) are yummy chopped and served on top of a fresh salad.

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