Satay Ayam

Chicken Satay

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An all-time favourite dish in Malaysia! Meat marinated in a variety of spices, then skewered and grilled to perfection, and served with peanut sauce. When I was a little girl, eating satay was considered a luxury and it was served only on special occasions. Some families continue this tradition and serve satay for Eid and birthdays, but satay is now widely available throughout Malaysia, from roadside stalls to high-end restaurants.

Ingredients

  • 300 g (11 oz) boneless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
  • Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for a couple of hours before using

Marinade

  • 3 stalks lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 85 g (3 oz) shallots, peeled
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, toasted
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
  • 50–100 g (1¾–3½ oz) chopped palm sugar, added according to taste
  • 3 tsp turmeric powder

Lemongrass Oil

  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz / ½ cup) vegetable oil

Method

  • Place all the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor and blend until fine without adding any water. Transfer the paste to a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or if time permits, overnight.
  • Wipe the bamboo skewers dry. Thread 5–6 chicken pieces onto each skewer to fill about one-third of the skewer.
  • Just before cooking, prepare the lemongrass oil to give the satay an extra flavour boost. Bruise the bulbous root end of the lemongrass and place root-side down in a small jug. Add the vegetable oil.
  • To cook the satay, place the skewers on a barbecue or hot plate. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, basting with the lemongrass oil frequently.
  • Serve the satay with peanut sauce and wedges of cucumber and onions on the side.