Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce

After a hiatus due to busy-ness and big computer problems (including a tea spill)... here we go!
I guess there's really no solid when/what/how to my whole blogging business, though I can honestly say I wish it could be a bit more consistent.
Though, I don't know, maybe the suspense is fun in some way.
But I found today, to finish the post, I have to go to Starbucks. Apparently it's the only place my computer wants to pick up wifi. I can download photos from camera to computer to external hard drive, but the hard drive doesn't seem to want to work on any other computer. And so, mine has to make it's way to Starbucks so we're all on the same page and cooperating.
Computers and I don't really make the best team, but I suppose at least I now know how we're playing the game.

I think this is an appropriate end-of-summer dish.
For the most part made-ahead, simple and fairly quick-cooking chicken breast can be tossed on the grill close to last minute (or alternatively use the broiler in the oven).

And the sauce...
I think this may be my "I-could-pretty-much-eat-anything-with-this-sauce" sauce.
No joke.

Lots of flavor here.
Any extra sauce can easily be tossed with rice noodles, but it also makes a nice dip for vegetables.

With regards to peanut butter, my preference in this case is a not totally creamy but very slightly chunky peanut butter, like the more artisanal type or the kind that you grind yourself at the store (just peanuts and nothing else).

I like the chicken to be thicker than the more traditional satay as I like meatier pieces of chicken on the grill. The result is a juicier piece of chicken.
And so, I'll take a piece of chicken, maybe flatten it out slightly since the shape isn't quite even, and slice 3 or 4 lengthwise strips (of course, they may certainly be cut thinner).  These then make their way into the marinade to bathe a while.

Accompaniments to finish things off might include rice noodles and/or cucumbers.
You could put together a cucumber salad with sliced cucumbers, a little vinegar and honey, perhaps red pepper flakes. Although plain, stand-alone, cool and crunchy cucumbers are great.
And I like some fresh, green cilantro leaves alongside, too.
Perhaps some lime wedges on the side...

Chicken Satay and Peanut Sauce
serves 3-6 or more (depending on who you have eating and whether it's a meal or an appetizer)

Note: You will need skewers- metal or bamboo.

For the marinade:
3/4 c (about 180 ml) coconut milk
1 T (15 ml) fish sauce
1 T (15 ml) Thai red curry paste
1 1/2 t (8 g) kosher salt
2 lb. (about 1 kg) chicken breasts

For the peanut sauce:
3/4 c (about 180 ml) coconut milk
1/4 c (80 g) peanut butter
1 T (15 ml) fish sauce
1 T (13 g) brown sigar, packed
1 T (15 ml) Thai red curry paste
2 t (10 ml) chile-garlic paste
1 T (15 ml) fresh lime juice

In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, fish sauce, curry paste, and salt. Flatten the breasts slightly so they're more even, and slice the chicken into lengthwise pieces (I like 3 to 4).
Place the chicken pieces in the marinade, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

While the chicken marinates, make the peanut sauce.
In a saucepan, mix together the coconut milk, peanut butter, fish sauce, brown sugar, curry paste, and chile-garlic paste. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring regularly, and simmer about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the lime juice. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, let cool slightly, then refrigerate until ready to use so the flavors come together.

Several hours before cooking, soak wooden skewers- if using- (one for each piece of chicken) in water.

Heat up the grill!

Thread a piece of chicken on each skewer, lengthwise, and thread back and forth a bit if you can manage so the chicken does not so easily rotate on it's stick.
Cook the chicken 6-10 or so minutes, turning at about the halfway point, until they're cooked through. It's nice if they have little char for flavor.

Serve with the sauce and any accompaniments you choose.

(If you use the broiler, maybe place on a broiler pan or a sheet pan covered in aluminum foil for easier cleanup. Cook the chicken a few inches from the element. The chicken will cook in about the same time. Turn after a few minutes.)

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