Sunday, August 10, 2014

Savory: Satay Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Once you have mastered peanut sauce, chicken satay is a breeze and makes for a lovely and impressive presentation. It may look daunting, but truth be told this is a simple and fast recipe that is great for a party or everyday meal, especially if you plan ahead.  The chicken skewers are simple kebabs that take mere minutes to finish - as long as you make the peanut sauce and marinate in advance, you can have this on the table in less than 15 minutes.

Satay is great family meal - kids love to grab the skewered chicken, and also choose their poisons, I mean vegetables.  Dipping is a fun and messy affair for all.  I find that a little kid empowerment makes for a more peaceful table.  On the other hand, keep on eye out for skewers repurposed as weapons. 

I chose to use pepper, carrots, green beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes, with some hard boiled eggs thrown in for fun.  But honestly anything works here - corn, zucchini, snap peas, tofu - whatever you have on hand will work in a pinch.  If you are dining without the kids, then up the heat by adding some red chilis or sriracha sauce to the marinade.  Fire up some onions with the satay, add some cabbage slaw or bok choy, add some spicy pickles, maybe even grilled eggplant - whatever you like.  The mix and match simplicity of this dish really gives you lots of options and no bad choices. 

Enjoy every bite.

1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
wooden skewers

1/2 lb green beans, cut
1 english cucumber sliced into thin circles
2 large red peppers sliced into long strips
2 carrots sliced into thin circles
2 medium tomatoes, cut into sixths
4 hard boiled eggs, halved

1 portion peanut sauce, room temperature

  1. Combine marinade ingredients and add chicken.  Refrigerate for 2 - 4 hours.
  2. Remove wooden skewers from packaging and immerse in water for 30 minutes or more.
  3. Blanche the green beans, carrots, and peppers for 30 seconds.  Remove and arrange on platter.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade.  Thread carefully onto wooden skewers.  
  5. Grill chicken for approximately 2 - 3 minutes per side - chicken should be cooked through.
  6. Plate chicken with vegetables, eggs, and sauce, and serve at once. (serves 6)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Savory: Peanut Sauce

Peanut sauce is a tasty, versatile, and fairly simple condiment to have on hand. Equally delicious as satay or slaw, it lends a unique and somewhat exotic mystique to the lowly peanut and will save you a fortune in take out costs. It can be served hot or cold with fresh vegetables, spread on bread to brighten an otherwise ho hum PB&J, or even eaten straight up with a spoon.  

This particular recipe is also vegan, parve, and dairy free.  Got nut allergies?  Substitute equal parts tahini or sunflower seed butter for a comparable result.  

Kecap manis is a sweetened soy sauce available at Asian specialty stores.  If you cannot find it, make your own by heating 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 tbsp molasses, and 1 tbsp light brown sugar until all the sugar is dissolved.   

A big shout out to Peanut Butter Boy, whose exceptional chunky peanut butter contributed to the success of this dish.  I like this brand for many reasons, not the least of which my friend Nick Strand invented it, but also because it is emulsified without being too oily or greasy.  There is no sugar added, so the peanuty flavor really shines through.  Highly recommended.  

The recipe makes a large amount of sauce, which works for me as I have lots of plans for it.  Come back soon to see more recipes.  

Enjoy every bite.

  • 1 tbsp oil (peanut if you have it, otherwise stick to something neutral like grape seed or vegetable oil)
  • 1 onion, large, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (or as you like it)
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 8 oz peanut better, crunchy style
  • 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis (sweetened soy sauce - see above)
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • salt 

  1. Heat oil and onion and garlic.  Cook on low heat until translucent (about 10 minutes).
  2. Add chili powder, cayenne, and paprika. Cook for a minute or two. 
  3. Take the pan off heat and incorporate the coconut milk and water.  Place on burner again, and heat slowly on low temperature until the sauce boils.  
  4. Add kecap manis and tomato sauce.  Salt as desired.  Serve cold or hot.