Chicken satay


  • Serves 4 people

For this quantity of chicken you'll need 30 bamboo skewers; soak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent them burning. This recipe makes about 30 sticks.

  • 600 gm chicken thigh meat, skin on, cut into 3cm pieces
  • For brushing: coconut oil or peanut oil
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 1 Spanish onion, cut into thin wedges
  • Chicken marinade
  • 1 lemongrass stalk (white part only), finely chopped
  • 2 golden shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp Chinese chilli powder
  • 1 tsp each ground fennel and turmeric
  • Satay sauce
  • 4 golden shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (white part only), finely chopped
  • 10 long dried chillies, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes, drained, coarsely chopped
  • 30 gm piece of galangal, coarsely chopped
  • 30 gm ginger, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cinnamon quill
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp ground chilli
  • ½ tsp belacan (optional; see note)
  • 50 gm tamarind pulp soaked in 250ml hot water
  • 100 ml vegetable oil
  • 250 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp dark palm sugar, or to taste (see note)
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis
  • 300 gm raw peanuts, roasted and crushed
01   For chicken marinade, process lemongrass and shallots in a blender, add remaining ingredients and process to a fine paste.
02   Combine chicken with marinade in a non-reactive container and refrigerate for flavours to infuse (4-6 hours or preferably overnight).
03   For the satay sauce, combine golden shallots, garlic, lemongrass, soaked chillies, galangal, ginger, spices and belacan in a food processor and blend to a paste (2-3 minutes). Set aside.
04   Squeeze tamarind pulp over a sieve placed over a bowl, then press through sieve, reserving the liquid and discarding the solids.
05   Heat oil in a wok over medium-high heat, add satay mixture and sauté until fragrant (4-5 minutes). Add tamarind water and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.
06   Add coconut milk and bring to the boil over low-medium heat, stirring continuously (4-5 minutes).
07   Add sugar, kecap manis, half the peanuts and salt to taste, and simmer over low-medium heat until sauce thickens (3-4 minutes). If sauce is too thick, thin it down with a little water. Just before serving, add remaining peanuts.
08   Thread 3-4 chicken pieces onto each skewer.
09   Heat a char-grill or barbecue to high and grill chicken skewers, brushing constantly with oil, until chicken is slightly charred on the outside and just cooked inside (4-6 minutes).
10   Serve chicken skewers with room-temperature satay sauce, sliced cucumber and wedges of onion.

Note Belacan, a shrimp paste, is available from Asian grocers.

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