I know I have not long come back from Malaysia and so you would expect I picked this recipe up there, but actually I had already made it a couple times before I went, I just didn’t manage to share it. I think I was mentally getting myself excited about the foods I would have there, and chicken satay was an easy place to start. It’s certainly a delicious one, and it’s already a staple on our summer table.
A street food classic
My son became quite a fan of chicken satay while we were in Malaysia. There you’ll find it in pretty much all the food markets, like this night market in Melaka (where, as you can see, you could also get fresh coconuts to drink along with a whole range of things to eat). I’m sure there’s something about eating chicken off a stick that’s naturally appealing to a toddler. Well, to anyone, really, plus the sauce is almost addictive it’s so good.
Chicken satay is found in a number of places in the region, with Thai and Malay versions being the most common. This recipe is a bit of a mix, but predominantly based on Malay recipes. No matter what, it’s really pretty easy and is so, so tasty. It’s become a staple of our summer eating (along with the odd spinach feta salmon burger, maple turkey burgers and more) The chicken marinade is made up a little in advance and the chicken left to take on the flavors, then the pieces are threaded on skewers before a quick cook on the grill.
My version of peanut sauce
The sauce is quite a bit thicker than what we found in Malaysia, but I think this works better at home for a few reasons. First, I’m gready, and this sauce let me put quite a bit on top of my satay rather than have only a little bit stick. Second, while the thinner sauce is handy for dipping as you walk round the market when it doesn’t matter so much if it drips all over the place, this is a bit more practical when that’s not really something you want to do in your house. Finally, I’m pretty sure the thinner sauce is largely oil so this is better for you.
It’s all in the marinade
Preparing the chicken is also easy. There might seem light a number of ingredients in the marinade, but I’ve made it relatively easy by you needing much the same quantity of most of them, so you can just throw them together and mix. This is one time when I’d say opting for the ready-pureed version of lemongrass and even ginger that you can buy in the supermarket is worthwhile. It definitely speeds things up and saves you having to either really finely chop both or throw things in a blender. Flavor-wise it is absolutely fine.
This is a really great dish for grilling in the summer months, but you could also broil the skewers or even put the chicken pieces in the oven to cook instead if grilling isn’t an option. I usually serve this with rice and either some cucumber sticks (as here) or simple grilled vegetables like corn, pepper or zucchini/courgette to make a proper meal of it. The sauce works really well with the rice, too. It’s all round a delicious, easy dish, perfect for the summer months.
- Marinade -
- 1tbsp minced lemongrass
- 1tbsp soy sauce
- 1tbsp brown sugar
- 1tbsp fish sauce
- 1tbsp minced ginger
- 1tbsp lime juice
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- ½tsp turmeric
- dash of cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- 1lb chicken - breast or thighs
- Sauce -
- 4½tbsp peanut butter
- 2tbsp water
- 1tsp sugar
- 1tsp sesame oil
- 1tsp tamarind concentrate
- 1tsp fish sauce
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- Mix together marinade ingredients in a container big enough for your chicken.
- Cut chicken into around 1in chunks, across the grain as far as possible, and toss in marinade. Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, 3-4 if you have it.
- Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside until ready.
- Thread the marinated chicken on to skewers and grill on the BBQ or under a broiler/grill until lightly charred and chicken is cooked through, around 15mins although it will depend on your grill and size of chicken pieces.