Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chicken Satay makes my day

It's an interesting phenomenon: I think most people are intimidated by ethnic foods.  Not about trying them, but feeling like there's no way they could make it at home.  For instance, when was the last time you walked into your neighbor's house to find her whipping up some chicken saag and naan?  I know, if you had a nickel for every time...

I am an enthusiastic ethnic eater.  I think it's because I simply have to have variety.  I can't function with a food schedule like "sandwich night" and "taco night."  We have to mix it up around here.  If you guys ever find me routinely making the same dish on the same day of the week, you can be assured I've had some kind of neurological event.  

This all brings me to Thai food; one of my favorites.  I found an awesome cookbook a few years ago.  Of course, with my sense of time, it could've been a decade ago for all I know!  It's written by a woman named Nancie McDermott.  She's lives in N.C. of all places but knows Thai cooking like a pro from the 3 years she spent there in the Peace Corps.  The cookbook is fantastic...the recipes are easy to use, easy to modify and definitely help us shake up our palates!  

Last night, I made chicken satay from her book.  I haven't made this in ages and was thinking that Vivian would like it because of the peanut sauce on the side.  Interestingly, she ate the chicken happily, but of the peanut sauce she politely stated, "I don't care for it."  I served it with simple jasmine rice and steamed green beans.  We're big on green beans at our house.  I have to have green.  Anyway, I posted a comment on Facebook about the satay and my high school friend Marie asked for the recipe.  Here's the recipe from Quick & Easy Thai, by Nancie McDermott.

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breasts (I used cutlets so I didn't have to pound and trim a lot)
Combine coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar and curry powder in a mixing bowl or ziploc.  Slice chicken lengthwise into 1/2" strips.  Place in marinade and cover.  Refrigerate 30 min or as long as overnight.

Spicy Peanut Sauce
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs red curry or mussamun curry paste
  • 2 tsp roasted chili paste (nahm prik pao; optional)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 Tbs fish sauce
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter or very finely ground peanuts
  • 1 Tbs freshly squeezed lime juice or tamarind liquid
Bring coconut milk to a gentle boil over med-hi heat.  Add curry paste and roasted chili paste and cook 4-5 minutes, mashing and stirring to dissolve them.  Add chicken broth, fish sauce, brown sugar, peanut butter and lime juice.  Cook 1 minute more, stirring well to make a smooth sauce.  Remove from heat & set aside.  May be served warm or at room temp.  Or cover & refrigerate, reheating gently just before serving time.

Thread the chicken on bamboo skewers in an "s" pattern.  Cook on a lightly oiled grill or under the broiler, turning often, until browned and cooked through, 4-6 minutes or so.  Serve with peanut sauce.

**Disclosure:  I didn't add the red curry paste for 3 reasons.  1) I didn't have any, 2) I didn't have all the stuff needed to make it from scratch, and 3) most importantly it would be too spicy for Viv.  Same thing with the chili paste.  So, I did add some pinches of curry, ginger and cumin to the coconut milk as I cooked it** 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Elizabeth! I will try this. Does your book have a good recipe for pad thai? I made it with those little packets of sauce from the store with rice noodles and chicken and the kids loved it, but I'd prefer to make the sauce from scratch (cheaper and I needed a lot more than was in the packet).



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