Chicken satay is a popular street food in Malaysia and Singapore. Satay is usually eaten as a starter or a snack but it is also served as a side dish. However or whenever served, it is always accompanied by the delightful, peanut-laden satay sauce, raw onions, and cucumbers.
How Satay Is Cooked
The secret to making tasty chicken satay is to allow to chicken to marinate in the ground spices long enough to absorb the flavors. After that, skewer the cubes of marinated chicken and cook on the grill. While electric grills are more convenient for home use, grilling the satay over live charcoal gives the chicken better texture and a richer flavor.
The preparation time indicated below does not include the three hours or so to marinate the chicken.
- 1 and 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into one-inch thick cubes
- 2 stalks lemongrass (lower portion only with the root ends cut off)
- 1 teaspoon sliced fresh turmeric (or 1/4 teaspoon powdered turmeric)
- 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 4 finely chopped shallots
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 30 to 40 bamboo skewers
- 1 large onion, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 3 hours. This helps to prevent them from burning too easily during grilling.
- Take one stalk of lemongrass and slice finely.
- Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, blend the lemongrass, turmeric, peanuts, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, salt and sugar into a fine paste.
- Mix in the shallots, cinnamon powder, and cooking oil.
- Marinate the chicken with this paste for at least three hours.
- Drain the water from the bamboo skewers. Thread four to five pieces of the marinated meat on each skewer, just like one might do with kebabs. Scrunch the meat up tightly against each other so that they stay in place. The meat should occupy slightly less than half the stick.
- Mix three-quarters cup of water with a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of oil in a cup or beaker. This is the barbecue sprinkle.
- Take the remaining lemongrass stalk and lightly pound the end where the root had been cut off.
- Put the meaty part of the skewer over the barbecue and grill on low heat, turning it over every two minutes.
- Dip the lemongrass stalk in the barbecue sprinkle and use it to baste the chicken often. The chicken will take 10 to 15 minutes to cook. Make sure that all traces of blood inside the meat are gone before serving.
- Serve the satay with satay sauce and the fresh onions and cucumbers.
Edited by Connie Veneracion