Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, one of my favourite dishes. Whether you spell it satay or sate people love this Indonesian specialty. Delightful little skewers of juicy cooked meat served with creamy peanut sauce. If you love the taste but think the skewers are too much effort just skip to the bottom of this post to read my hacks for an everyday version of this satay.
I have fond memories of eating chicken satay with peanut sauce on the island of Bali many years ago. Every day was a sunny 32°C with a warm ocean breeze. The narrow streets were dotted with food vendors fanning the grill on their satay cart to keep the heat at the perfect cooking temperature. Each vendor had his own variation of satay and his own style of serving it. I remember placing an order and watching the vendor blob peanut butter and hot sauce in the center of brown butcher paper, grab two skewers of meat off the grill and use them to mix the sauce right before my eyes. He swiftly folded the paper around the meat and handed me a package of the most delicious, succulent chicken satay I had ever tasted. I remember that satay every time I make this recipe.
Kecap manis, sometimes spelled ketjap manis, is a sweet, thick Indonesian soy sauce. Any purchased kecap manis I have found contains wheat so you have two choices. You can make it from scratch using GF soy sauce or substitute as indicated in the recipe with GF soy sauce and a bit of brown sugar. This recipe for homemade kecap manis will last in the cupboard for a year…but cook with it and you will fall in love with the taste.
Tamarind refers to the pod of the tamarind tree which contains seeds covered by a fleshy pulp. It adds a unique fruity sourness to many dishes and is naturally gluten free. It is available in Asian and Indian specialty shops sold as tamarind concentrate, a thick dark paste in small plastic tubs or as tamarind pulp, a pliable block wrapped in plastic. Read this post for more on tamarind.
At home where there are no street vendors we make our own chicken, beef or pork satay. When I am in a hurry I sometimes skewer whole, boneless chicken thighs and I might skip the marinade altogether. Metal skewers make it easies since they don’t require the pre-soaking like wooden skewers. I have even written a substitute for the kecap manis in the recipe instructions although I haven’t used that for a very long time. These are all everyday kitchen hacks for this recipe that I can live with.
When I am entertaining I don’t do the hacks. When menu planning I choose a few tried-and-true recipes like this one that won’t add to the stress of entertaining. I know if I follow the steps it will turn out perfectly. So I do soak the wooden skewers for several hours and take care not to burn them during the cooking. I cut the meat into small pieces and marinate it overnight. The homemade kecap manis is a must for the most authentic version of the peanut sauce. And lastly, for a stunning, gourmet presentation I will serve the satay on a beautiful platter and decorate it with colourful flowers.
Enjoy it any way you like. In the comments below I’d love to hear how you served yours.
|2 lb boneless chicken, beef or pork|
|1/4 cup tamarind paste (OR 1 Tbsp tamarind concentrate and 2 Tbsp boiling water)|
|2 tsp cumin|
|4 shallots, sliced (or 1/4 cup chopped onion)|
|2 garlic cloves, sliced|
|2 tsp sugar|
|1 tsp salt|
|1 tsp hot red pepper flakes|
|2 Tbsp GF soy sauce|
|2 Tbsp vegetable oil|
|1 cup peanut butter|
|1/4 cup kecap manis (OR 3½ Tbsp GF soy sauce and ½ Tbsp brown sugar)|
|3 garlic cloves, chopped|
|1½ Tbsp brown sugar|
|2 Tbsp lemon juice|
|½-1 tsp hot red pepper flakes|
|3/4 cup boiling water|
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