Friday, 26 September 2008

WTSIM: Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay


Sorry Andrew, although you asked us to make something more uncommon Indonesian fares for the latest installment of WTSIM, I just couldn't help doing this chicken satay recipe that I have bookmarked about two years ago. When I read how Mike of Lafang gushed about his friend's satay recipe I thought just have make this and the current theme of Indonesian for WTSIM seems the perfect excuse for me to do it.

The very first time that I had Indonesian food was when I lived in cosmopolitan Hong Kong. Back then I was aware that our country's neighbor's food is similar to ours although a bit more on the spicy side. So when a Dutch friend invited us in Cinta restaurant down in Wan Chai, we didn't lose time ordering the likes of rijsttafel, nasi goreng, sago malacca, and of course chicken satay. The latter was served imaginatively where a small charcoal grill is brought to the table and you grill the skewered chicken on right there. Lovely!

As you can be gleaned from some of the names of traditional Indonesian dishes, there were Dutch influences in the country by way of the Dutch East India company that colonised it starting in the 17th centrury. Rijsttafel - means rice table and is a collection of small amounts of different dishes, rice or vegetables in a wide platter. Sort of like a precedent of the tasting menu. It was perfect for me since I love sampling different dishes in one sitting.

Anyway, this satay recipe is really good. I just made a small adjustment in the salty department. I thought it needs a little bit more seasoning so the adjustment is already there. The one lesson for me here is to cut the meat in chunks not in thin slivers! At the grill, my slivers were either sticking to the metal grills or disintegrating altogether. But they were oh so tender. Love them!


Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 medium onion or 6 shallots - chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemon grass, white part only - chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 inch fresh ginger - peeled
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp fine salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
750 gm chicken thighs or breasts - cut into 1-inch chunks
bamboo skewers
  1. Grind or pound the garlic, ginger, fennel, coriander, onion, lemon grass, turmeric into a paste.
  2. Add sugar and salt, mix well.
  3. Marinate chicken into this mixture for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Soak bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Thread the marinated chicken through the skewers.
  5. Brush with oil and grill on hot charcoals.
  6. Serve with peanut sauce and fresh salad.


Peanut Sauce

1 medium onion or 6 shallots - chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 stalks lemon grass, white part only - flattened or chopped
2 dried red chillies - soaked, drained and chopped
4 tbsp peanut oil
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/2 cup peanuts - finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp tamarind paste
salt to taste
  1. Grind or pound the onion, garlic, lemon grass, and chillies into a paste.
  2. Heat the peanut oil in a saucepan.
  3. Saute the onion mixture in the hot oil on medium heat for a few minutes or until fragrant.
  4. Add the coriander and turmeric. Cook for about a minute.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and bring slowly to a boil while stirring continously.
  6. Add the fish sauce, sugar, tamarind paste, and peanuts. Simmer while stirring occasionally until thick or desired consistency is achieved.

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