CHICKEN SATAY (MALAYSIA)
(Succulent pieces of skewered chicken served with tangy peanut sauce)
For the Satay
150 gm chicken breast, cut into 1-inch thick cubes
2 stalks lemongrass
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp roasted peanuts
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp coriander seeds
4 finely shallots (chopped)
¼ tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
8 bamboo skewers
1 big onion, cut into ¾ inch cubes
1 big cucumber, cut into quarters lengthwise and then into medium slices
For the peanut paste
100 gm peanuts
1 ½ tbsp tamarind pulp
6 tbsp sugar
2 cups of water
6 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
For the spice paste
8 dried chillies soaked in warm water
2 tsp thinly sliced galangal (Thai ginger)
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
- Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 3 hours. This helps to prevent them from burning too easily during the barbecue.
- Blend the lemon grass, turmeric, peanuts, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, salt and sugar into a fine paste.
- Blend in the shallots, cinnamon powder and cooking oil. Marinate the chicken with this paste for at least 3 hours. Meanwhile, soak the tamarind in 2 cups of water. Use only the juice, discard the pulp and seeds, if any.
- Drain the water from the bamboo skewers. Skewer 4 to 5 pieces of the marinated meat on each skewer, just like one might do with kebabs. Skewer the meat up tightly against each other so that they stay in place. The meat should occupy slightly less than half the stick.
- For the peanut paste, without using any oil, roast the peanuts in a frying pan or wok over low heat until they are brown and fragrant. Allow them to cool before removing as much of the peanut skins as possible. Put the peanuts in a blender, along with the other ingredients and beat on a low setting until coarsely ground. Put aside.
- Remove the dried chillies from the water, cut the top off, remove the seeds and slice. Put all the ingredients for the spice paste into a blender and grind into a fine paste. If the ingredients are too dry and you have trouble grinding, add 1 tablespoon of oil.
- Heat 6 tablespoons of oil on low heat in a pot. Sauté the spice paste until it turns golden brown. Now add the ground peanut and tamarind juice.
- Cook on low heat while stirring frequently so that the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add some water if the satay sauce becomes too thick and hard to stir.
- Cook for about 45 minutes or until a reddish chilli oil rises to the top of the pot. The satay sauce should have a rich, dark red colour with a thick consistency.