Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce - made by Ellen on June 19, 2010 from Williams Sonoma's Asian cookbook

This is another recipe Ellen made for our picnic. This is the kind of thing I love eating but would never make. One look at the ingredient list would send me running, not to the grocery store, but for the hills. For a non-cook like me, it's just too intimidating. Give me a baking recipe with the same number of ingredients and complexity and I'd take it on without blinking. But real food? Nah. Fortunately there are better cooks out there than me so I don't have to go without :).

1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 ½ cups coconut milk
½ cup fish sauce
5 tablespoons chopped palm sugar or brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1 tablespoon chopped stems
1 tablespoons Madras curry powder
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon each peeled and chopped fresh galangal and chopped lemongrass
1 fresh red hot chile, seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus oil for brushing
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon shrimp paste
1 cup unsalted peanuts, toasted and minced

1. Cut the chicken strips 4 inches long by 1 ½ inches wide. In a large bowl, stir together ½ cup of the coconut milk, ¼ cup of the fish sauce, 3 tablespoons of the palm sugar, the cilantro leaves, and the curry powder. Add the chicken strips and stir to coat evenly with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to overnight.
2. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill, or have ready a stove-top grill pan. Place 12-15 wooden skewers, each 9 inches long, in water to cover and let soak for at least 20 minutes.
3. In a mortar, combine the shallot, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, chile and cilantro stems and grind with a pestle, gradually adding 1-2 tablespoons water to form a paste. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the 1 tablespoon oil. Add the shallot-garlic paste and sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 cup coconut milk and simmer until thickened, 7 – 10 minutes. Add the remaining ¼ cup fish sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons palm sugar, lime juice, shrimp paste and peanuts and cook until the peanut sauce thickens, 5-7 minutes.
4. Drain the skewers and remove the chicken strips from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Weave 3 chicken strips lengthwise onto each skewer. If using a stove-top grill pan, preheat it over high heat. Brush the grill rack or grill pan with oil. Place the skewers on the rack or pan and sear the chicken until golden brown on each side, 4-5 minutes per side. If using a charcoal grill, move the skewers away from the direct flame, cover the grill and cook until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes. If using a grill pan, turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let the chicken stand for 5 minutes. Arrange the skewers on a warmed platter and serve the peanut sauce on the side.

Makes 4 servings

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