Sunday, July 25, 2010

Thai Chicken Satay

I will betray my bias right away: if anything has "peanut sauce" in the name or description, I automatically give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. There's just something about peanut sauce. This ranks right up there with the best peanut sauces that I have made.

I was feeling uninspired for meals for the week (and I'm actually not very accustomed to having to plan a week's worth of meals, since I've hardly cooked since March), so I pulled out a few cookbooks for inspiration. I decided that this recipe from my Williams Sonoma Food Made Fast: Weeknight cookbook looked too good wait for the week.

I'll give you the recipe in a minute, but first I'll tell you how I served it. The recipe recommends serving the satays over a simple salad of lettuce and cucumber slices, but I wanted something more substantial. So I boiled up some whole wheat spaghetti and tossed some of the sauce with the cooled spaghetti, cucumber slices, snow peas and a little green onion. It made a great, light base for the satays, and I made enough that we'll have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Yay!

This is definitely a 'keeper' recipe for me -- something to revisit on another lazy summer evening when I want an easy, fresh-tasting meal that won't heat up my kitchen. (Oh, and it went great with margaritas, even pregnant-lady wannabe margaritas.)

Thai Chicken Satay

2 large limes
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips

Marinate the chicken. Place 8 bamboo skewers in cold water to soak until ready to use. Grate 1 teaspoon zest from the limes and squeeze 1/4 cup juice. In a glass or ceramic bowl, whisk together the lime zest and juice, vinegar and peanut butter until smooth. Stir in the cilantro, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the mixture in a separate bowl for use as a sauce. Add the chicken to the marinade and turn to coat. Let stand at room temperature for at least 10 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Cook the chicken. Meanwhile, prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct-heat grilling over medium-high heat and oil the grill rack. Or, preheat a broiler. When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade (I kept it around long enough to spoon some marinade over the skewers after I'd put them on the grill). Divide the strips among the skewers, threading the strips on lengthwise. Place the skewers on the grill rack, or put them on a baking sheet and place under the broiler. Cook, turning once, until seared on the outside and opaque throughout, about 6 minutes total.

[If serving as a salad, as recommended in the recipe, divide 1 small head of shredded romaine lettuce, cucumber slices, and chicken skewers among 4 plates. Drizzle with some of the reserved sauce and serve, passing additional sauce at the table.]


Laura said...

Thanks for sharing! Sounds delicious. Since you love peanut sauce, I have to share our favorite peanut-sauced recipe, courtesy of Cooking Light:

Szechuan Spicy Noodles with Carrot-Cucumber Relish

1 c. shredded peeled cucumber
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. shredded carrot
1 Tbsp. seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

8 oz. udon noodles (thick, round fresh Japanese wheat noodles - but we actually substitute whole wheat spaghetti noodles most of the time and it's delicious)
1/4 c. peanut butter
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbps. chile paste with garlic (such as sambal oelek)
1/3 c. thinly sliced green onions
1 Tbsp. minced peeled fresh ginger
6 oz. ground pork
2 garlic cloves, minced

1. To prepare relish, place cucumber in a colander; sprinkle with salt; toss well. Drain 1 hour. Place cucumber on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels; let stand 5 minutes, pressing down occasionally. (Sometimes we skip this part, but it's really better if you take the time to get the moisture out of the cucumbers.) Combine cucumber, carrot, vinegar, sugar, and oil in a medium bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour.

2. To prepare noodles, cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and set aside.

3. Combine broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, and chile paste in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Over medium-high heat, saute onions, ginger, and pork 5 minutes or until pork loses its pink color. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds. Pour broth mixture into pan, bring to simmer, and cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Pour pork mixture over noodles and toss well. Serve with relish.

Yield: 4 servings

Molly said...

Thanks for the recipe, Laura! I will definitely give it a try!