Chicken Satay


While waiting at the OB’s office with my wife, I picked up an issue of Better Homes and Garden. Although I typically never read that particular magazine, I think the universe must have been talking to me. I happened upon a multipage spread of satays that I thought looked mesmerizingly good.

Because we quickly got called in to see the doctor, I didn’t have time to read the article or review any of the recipes. But the images stuck. Later that week, I went to Trader Joe’s and got some chicken.

At Trader Joe’s you can get several “levels” of chicken. Organic skinless boneless chicken breasts will cost you about a month’s rent per pound. Then, there is is not-organic-but-humanely-grown chicken, which is slightly less expensive but still super pricey. About five levels of organic-ness and humane-ness below that is the chicken that I got. It was 2 pounds of vacuum packed boneless skinless chicken breasts, and it cost 2.99 per pound, which is cheaper than hamburger. How that works, I have no idea.

the ingredients

Chicken Satay Recipe:

1. Slice it: I sliced up the chicken breasts fairly thin. The important part was to cut it across the grain. It didn’t matter to much that the pieces of were of varying length. I would make up for it later in the skewering process.

2. Marinade it: I looked at a whole bunch of satay marinade recipes, and they all seemed to have soy sauce, fish sauce, acid, and fat. So, I used a 1/4C soy sauce and 1/4C rice wine vinegar. I didn’t feel like buying asian fish sauce, so I used 1t of the British version instead (Worcestershire sauce). And for fat, I used 1T of toasted sesame oil and 2T of dijon mustard. For a little kick, a couple of sprinkles of red pepper flakes. And a clove of minced garlic to boost the savoriness.

Oh, and most important, I added 1t of turmeric. Turmeric is my favorite spice word to say. Turmeric. When mixed with liquid, it becomes intensely yellow. Intensely yellow.

Let it marinade for an hour. Marinating it longer would probably be better, but I don’t have that kind of patience.

3. Skewer it: I took some skewers, ran them under some water, and then ran them through the marinated chicken. Sometimes, 1 long piece would fit on the skewer. Other times, I would put two or three smaller pieces on a single skewer. I basically was looking for each skewer to have the same amount of meat.

4. Sauce it: you’ll want to make a peanut dipping sauce. I took about a quarter cup of peanut butter and mixed about 1T of soy sauce with 1T of hot water and 1t of toasted sesame oil. Mix thoroughly. This sauce is done pretty much to taste. So wing it. I do.

sauce ingredients

4. Grill it: I put these up on the grill at high heat. I also had some zucchini that I sliced in half and some green onions that I also put on the grill. The zucchini was my wife’s idea, and it turned out to be a perfect side dish for the chicken. And the green onions were a really nice flavor contrast to the chicken and peanut sauce, almost like a palette cleanser.

satay, zucchini, and green onions

My wife and I really enjoyed this dish. And I was particularly happy about that because, with her being pregnant, she has been craving ground beef. I want to make sure she eats some leaner meats too, but she has been particularly averse to poultry. So, I take the fact that she liked this chicken as a compliment.

Plus, since I think the recipe would scale up nicely, we will likely be making these the next time we have a group of people over.


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