Chicken Satay Skewers
Sizzling like a hive of bees, street food smells waft from the open grills in Petaling Street Market in Kuala Lumpur. Tourists and locals flock to eat skewers of satay meats and prawns, crowded on benches, elbows in each other’s sides. The delicate meat, marinated in spices and drizzled with peanut sauce, is quickly grilled over high heat to sear the outside and give it that smoky crunch. The street vendors whip the bamboo skewers off the coals and throw them onto flat banana leaves, used as plates. Delicious!
Manchester is a long way from Malaysia, and the recipe for Satay has travelled a long way itself since it started in Indonesia. It’s always been a street food – meat is kept in a marinade, threaded onto skewers and grilled over hot coals as customers order it. You can make a really good imitation at home under the grill but it would be even better on the barbeque.
As the recipe moved through the far East, the marinade took on different characters according to the cultures. The Thai version uses coconut milk in the marinade, which gives a creamier result than the original lime, turmeric and spice marinade.
As a street food, you just eat the meat from the skewers, but at home you can make some plain rice, relishes, pickles and green vegetables to turn it into a full meal.
Serves 4 Timings: 4 hours to marinade, about 30 minutes to assemble the meal
Relishes: mango, red onion, chilli and lime salsa; red onion slices pickled in vinegar with a teaspoon of sugar and salt added; sliced cucumbers; brined chilli peppers from a jar.
Make up the marinade, mix well. Add the chicken strips and marinade for 4 hours or overnight. The turmeric gives a lovely golden colour to the meat over time.
To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and gradually add in cold water, a spoonful at a time, whisking in as you go. Keep going until you get a thick glossy sauce of the right consistency to spoon over the kebabs.
Soak your bamboo skewers in water for an hour before cooking.
Thread the chicken pieces onto the bamboo skewers, concertina-ing up the strips. You will need 2-3 skewers per person.
Grill the skewers under a hot grill, turning now and then. They will take about 10 minutes to cook through under a grill, or a little less on a barbeque.
Serve with plain rice, the tasty relishes and salsa, and maybe some steamed pak choi or tender stemmed broccoli drizzled with sesame oil. Or wrap them in a tortilla wrap and slather them with sauce.
Some Changes - April 2022
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