chicken satay & dipping sauce

We made these Thai skewers a few weeks ago and my sister’s been bugging me repeatedly to post about it ‘cus she really wants to make some too.  So here you go, Reyna!  This recipe is from the Lonely Planet: Thailand cookbook.  I’ve been loyal to Lonely Planet travel guides ever since I got my first one 8 or 9 years ago, the LP Southeast Asia on a Shoestring (aaaah, the glory days).  Turns out LP just came out with 2 cookbooks and they were at Costco so how could I not?  Their recipe is from the Silom Thai Cooking School and it made awesome skewers with the absolute best dipping sauce ever.

There’s 3 parts to the recipe, the chicken, dipping sauce, and cucumber relish, and I followed it for the most part.  (I’m terrible at following recipes simply because I’m too lazy to, unless it’s for baking!).  So I’ll just let you know what we did with the recipe.

For the chicken: 4 chicken breasts, sliced into long strips about an inch in width  /  1 tsp ground coriander  /  1 tbsp turmeric  /  1/2 tbsp curry powder (I used Malaysian curry but if you don’t have any I’m sure you can use just regular)  /  1 tbsp light soy sauce  /  ~ 1/2 can (400 ml) of coconut cream  /  1/4 tsp salt  /  and not technically an ingredient, but bamboo skewers, about a dozen)

For the dipping sauce:  120 grams red curry paste  /  120 grams roasted peanuts  /  1 can (400 ml) coconut milk  / the remaining 1/2 can of coconut cream  /  1 and 1/2 tsp salt  /  50 grams coconut sugar (or brown sugar)  /  1 tbsp tamarind paste  (note:  I like Cock Brand curry paste which is imported from Thailand and it’s got some pretty good heat going so if you’re not after spicy, you might wanna reduce the amount of curry paste in your sauce)

For the cucumber relish:  120 ml white vinegar  /  2 tbsp sugar  /  1/4 tsp salt  /  60 ml water  /  1 red Thai chilli, finely sliced  /  1 green Thai chilli, finely sliced  /  4 small cucumbers, finely sliced  /  2 shallots, finely sliced (use a mandoline if you have one!)

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In a large bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the chicken and cover with some clingfilm.  Set aside and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.  In the meantime, you can start soaking the bamboo skewers in some cold water so that they won’t burn during the grilling.

Now, for the dipping sauce.  In a food processor, grind together the curry paste and the peanuts (we left it still a bit chunky).  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, simmer about 250 ml of the coconut milk until the oil rises to the surface.  To be perfectly honest, I got impatient and never quite got to the oil rising stage and it turned out great but I’ll try harder next time!  Then mix in the curry/peanut paste and bring back to a simmer.  Add in the rest of the coconut milk and the rest of the dipping sauce ingredients and let it reduce for about 5 minutes.  Set aside and let it cool.

This would be a good time to start heating up your barbecue to medium to medium-high heat.

For the relish, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt and water and let it simmer for about 5 minutes or until it looks a bit syrupy.  Remove from heat, let it cool completely, and then toss in the chillies, cucumbers and shallots.

Thread the chicken onto the skewers.

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Grill for about 10 minutes or so (depending on the heat of your barbecue), or until the chicken is cooked through, turning them every now and again.  Serve with the dipping sauce and the cucumber relish on the side.  We also steamed up some jasmine rice to go with the skewers.

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Seriously though, the dipping sauce is unreal.  Stoked to make these again soon!

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