Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

This dish came to me after a trip to the beach. Sydney was sweltering in 42ºC heat and I was craving a simple cold noodle salad. Something light and fresh to cool me down. I tried to incorporate some kind of protein into the salad, but eventually the satay accompaniment kind of took over. I just love satay – especially chicken satay. It’s a perfect barbecue dish and over anything else, the most satisfying way to grill chicken. It’s so juicy and tasty! I urge you to serve it with the peanut sauce. It’s just not the same without it. I’d bought some fresh peanuts earlier in the week and they made so much difference to the overall taste but shop bought, unsalted peanuts are great too – this dish was absolutely sublime! Even though I’d almost passed out, standing by the BBQ in 60ºC temperatures.

INGREDIENTS:
500g chicken thighs (cut into small cubes)
1 onion (finely diced)
1 garlic clove (chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut (or dessicated)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon grass (crushed)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon shrimp paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons peanut oil

DIRECTIONS:
Add all the ingredients, except the chicken, into a food processor and blend into a smooth paste. Spoon into a large bowl or bag and then add the chicken. Combine well, cover and refridgerate for at least 2 hours. Overnight is best.

Soak some wooden skewers in water for 2 hours. Heat a barbeque until hot. Meanwhile, skewer about 4 chicken pieces onto each skewer until you’ve used all the chicken. Arrange on a platter then drizzle a little peanut oil over. Cook on the barbecue for 3-4 minutes each side until charred all over and the chicken cooked through. Arrange on a platter and rest momentarily. Sprinkle with salt then serve.

PEANUT SAUCE:
1 cup peanuts (unsalted, dry roasted for 2 minutes)
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 red onion (sliced)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
1″ piece ginger (chopped)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 heaped teaspoon shrimp paste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon grass (pounded and crushed)
2 red chillies (crushed)
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons kecap manis
1 teaspoon palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:
Heat the oil in a small pan then gently fry the onion, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes until soft. Cool slightly then place in a food processor with all the other ingredients and blend into a semi smooth paste. Pour in a little hot water to loosen the paste into a thinner consistency which slides off a spoon easily. Leave to settle for a while then adjust seasoning by adding either more salt, tamarind for sourness or kecap manis for sweetness to your taste. Leave to cool completely.

SERVING:
Serve the chicken hot, with the peanut sauce, which you can serve cold, or reheat to have hot with the chicken skewers. I prefer it cold and always have some combination of fresh cucumber, onion and tomato alongside.

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