It’s typical, isn’t it? I finally get around to posting a summer barbecue recipe and all of a sudden the gorgeous weather disappears, the grey clouds gather and a deluge of rain descends from the heavens. Blinking typical.
What else can you expect when it’s Glastonbury Festival? Even if it weren’t all over Twitter, radio and TV, we’d know it was Glasto time just by the sheer number of helicopters flying over our house taking the VIPs to the festival down the road in Pilton. We always give them a wave as we wonder who might be on board…
But I am ever the optimist and I’m sure the days of balmy sunshine will return to us soon. And this chicken satay is a dish we’ll making again on the barbie.
This was one of my favourite dishes when I went to Malaysia and Singapore as a child to stay with my Mum’s family. I thought the hawker stalls were just so exciting and loved the way the sticky rice came wrapped up in banana leaves. I can’t clam my version is at all authentic I’m afraid, and it isn’t easy to come by banana leaves in the middle of Somerset. It is ruddy tasty though, and I could easily polish off a whole bowlful of that peanut sauce on its own.
The chicken satay is packed full of spice and while it’s fine to mince the marinade ingredients in a food processor, I rather like doing it with a pestle and mortar to work out some of those pent-up tensions. It’s best to marinate the chicken overnight or at least for three to four hours.
Chicken satay with peanut sauce and coconut rice
For the satay chicken
500g chicken breasts, skinned
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and white part finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp fish sauce
½ chilli, deseeded and chopped
a little sunflower oil for brushing
For the peanut sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
½ onion, peeled and finely diced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp crushed garlic
½ tsp ground ginger
5 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp dark soy sauce
250ml coconut cream
For the chicken satay
Slice the chicken into thin strips and place in a bowl.
Crush together the onion, garlic, lemongrass and ground spices using a pestle and mortar (or in a food processor) to create a rough paste. Add a little salt, sugar and pepper to taste. Stir in the fish sauce and chilli. Pour the paste onto to the chicken and mix well with your hands to thoroughly coat.
Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight, or at least three to four hours.
Soak 16 bamboo skewers in water for around 30 minutes to stop them from burning on the barbecue later.
Carefully thread the marinated chicken onto the skewers.
When you are ready to cook, brush a little sunflower oil onto each satay skewer and then gently lay them onto the barbecue grill. (Or of course you can do this under the grill or in a griddle pan.)
Grill the chicken for about five minutes, turning frequently, until it has cooked through.
For the peanut sauce
Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion, chilli and garlic for a few minutes until the onions are soft.
Add the ground ginger and peanut butter giving it all a good stir until the peanut butter starts to melt down. It should start to melt. Then add the tamarind paste and soy sauce and stir again. Next goes in the coconut cream and water. Cook and keep stirring for a few more minutes until everything is well incorporated.
Pour the peanut sauce into a bowl and serve warm alongside the chicken and rice.
For the coconut rice
400ml coconut milk
½ tsp ground ginger
salt to taste
1 bay leaf
1 lemongrass stalk
200g long grain rice
Place the coconut milk, ground ginger, salt, bay leaf, lemongrass stalk, and rice in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Stir together and cover with a lid. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Continue to simmer very gently for around 20 minutes, until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the coconut milk. If it dries out before the rice is done, add a little water. When it’s cooked, fish out the bay leaf and lemongrass stalk – you don’t want anyone chowing down on either of those.
Serve the rice by packing it into a small, very lightly oiled bowl and turning it out onto a plate alongside the barbecued chicken satay and individual bowls of peanut sauce. I like to add a simple dressed salad to the plate too. Now that is properly finger-licking good.
As the spice mix for the chicken satay features cumin, I am entering it into this month’s Spice Trail challenge, where of course the theme this month is cumin.
I’m also entering it into June’s Family Foodies, hosted this month by Louisa at Eat Your Veg. The theme is Barbecues, Picnics and Outdoor Eating and I think these chicken satay fit the bill perfectly.