Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Gai Satay

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This dish looks inviting, tastes fantastic, and is fun to eat. To make in advance, marinate the meat, put the cucumber pickles together, make the sauce, and then cover and chill. Let your first guests skewer the meat and get it grilling while you gently reheat the peanut sauce. This way you will have time to make a quick batch of the traditional satay accompaniment: toast! Thais often serve satay with a side of toast points, the better to enjoy the fabulous peanut sauce.

Ingredients

  • Marinade for Chicken
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

Spicy Peanut Sauce

  • ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste, or mussamun curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons roasted chili paste (nahm prik pao; optional)
  • ½ cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar or brown sugar
  • ¼ cup chunky peanut butter or very finely ground peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice or tamarind liquid
  • About 60 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
  • Tangy Cucumber Pickles

Method

Combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, and curry powder in a large mixing bowl and stir well. Cut chicken thighs into generous, bite-sized chunks, and cut breast meat lengthwise into ½-inch strips. Add the meat to the marinade and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight.

To prepare the peanut sauce, bring the coconut milk to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the curry paste and roasted chili paste and cook 4 to 5 minutes, mashing and stirring occasionally to dissolve them. Add the chicken broth, fish sauce, palm sugar, peanut butter, and lime juice and cook 1 minute more, stirring well to make a smooth sauce. Remove from heat, transfer to a small serving bowl, and set aside to cool. The sauce can be served warm or at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate, reheating gently just before serving time.

Thread meat onto tips of bamboo skewers, and cook on a lightly oiled, hot grill or under a broiler, turning often, until browned and cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Serve at once with the peanut sauce and Tangy Cucumber Pickles.