Satay, small pieces or strips of marinated meat grilled on bamboo skewers, is truly a Malay dish, but these days it is so popular in Thai restaurants people would be forgiven for thinking that it is a Thai dish. You can use beef, pork or chicken. The day before you cook your satay, put a packet of bamboo skewers to soak in cold water. This will help stop them burning. Serve the satay with some plain boiled rice.
Bone the chicken thighs (see Kentish Pudding), using the bones for stock. Strip off the skin and discard. Cut the meat into strips about 5 cm / 2 inches long by 1–2 cm / ½–¾ inch wide and put into a bowl.
In a food processor, put the garlic, onion, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and tamarind, if you have some. Blitz to a smooth paste and pour over the meat, turning with a fork to coat, and leave to marinate for 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.
Make the satay sauce: shell the raw peanuts and fry them over a low heat in the oil, stirring continuously until browned. Transfer to a food processor and add the onion, garlic, chilli flakes, ginger, lemon grass, lemon juice, sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce. Work to a smooth paste, pouring the hot water through the feeder tube as you process. Pour into a saucepan, bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove and leave to cool.
Preheat an overhead grill and thread the marinated meat on the skewers. Grill the chicken fiercely, close to the flame, until just done – about 4 minutes on each side.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.