Thursday, September 24, 2015

South-east Asian Pot Luck Part 1 - Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

I've mentioned in a previous post that some girlfriends and I like to get together every few months and have a pot luck dinner. We choose a different type of cuisine each time, and it almost certainly involves a lot of wine, as well as an amazing array of food. I hosted at my place this time and even though we did a Japanese theme last time, we settled on south-east Asian this time. I decided to make a couple of things suitable for entrees/pre-dinner snacking - chicken satay with peanut sauce and spicy thai fish cakes with a sweet chilli dipping sauce.

I did a bit of digging around the interwebs before I found some recipes I was happy with. Serious Eats yielded the recipe for the chicken satay and the peanut sauce was courtesy of the Nigella website. I'll tell you all about the spicy thai fish cakes in part two. 

For the chicken satay you need:

1 stalk lemongrass, roughly chopped - or use pre-prepared from the jar, like I did, if you can't get it fresh.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil - I use canola
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon of lime juice - fresh is ideal if limes aren't crazy expensive
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
2 medium cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon Sriracha (or another hot chilli sauce)
About 450g of boneless chicken breast - you could also use thigh
Bamboo skewers (this made about 15)

Put everything but the chicken (and skewers, duh) into the blender and whiz on high speed until smooth. Slice the chicken into strips lengthwise, about 1/2 an inch thick. Put the chicken into a large resealable plastic bag, pour the marinade in and give it a squish around. Leave it in the fridge to marinade for at least 1-2 hours, but the longer the better. While the chicken is marinading, soak the skewers in water so they don't burn under the grill. Once the chicken has marinaded, thread the chicken onto the skewers and place on a baking tray, either non-stick, greased, or lined with foil. Grill under a high heat - but not too close to the element. They will take around 15-20 mins to cook, and make sure you turn them half way through. Don't overcook them - the problem with using chicken breast is that it can dry out. You can make the peanut sauce ahead of time, while the chicken is marinading, and reheat later if you like, as I did, but I think it's best fresh.

1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 small red chilli, finely chopped - leave out one or both types of chilli if you'd rather have it milder
1 small onion, finely chopped - I used a shallot
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tablespoon of peanut oil - I just used regular canola oil

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the garlic, onion and chilli over a medium heat until the onion is soft - but don't let it brown. Add the sugar and stir until slightly caramelised. Add the soy sauce and peanut butter and stir through. Add a little coconut milk at a time until you get the consistency you want.

These are really tasty - a great depth of flavour from the marinade with a hint of spice, and with the creamy nuttiness of the peanut sauce, they make a great snack at a party or entree before a main meal.

Next time - spicy thai fish cakes with a sweet chilli dipping sauce!

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