Tuesday, February 23, 2010

And Fire Made It Good

Beef and chicken satay with peanut sauce (with a dollop of extra hot chili paste in the center), red onion slices, cucumber slices and cubes of compressed rice.

One of the most popular Malaysian dishes is Satay which is skewered grilled meat served with a peanut sauce (or kuah kacang in the Malay language), cucumber slices and red onion slices. Cubes of compressed rice or “nasi impit” is also usually served as it goes well with the peanut sauce. Other Asian countries have a similar style of cooking and I have had both the Indonesian and Thai versions, but I have to say that although the meat may have tasted alright, nothing compared to the Malaysian peanut sauce.

I made some chicken satay for our Christmas lunch at my cousin's place. Due to a miscommunication (understandable given that we were doing what Malaysians like to do which is to talk about all the food that we were going to have for that weekend) we didn't have quite enough skewers and so we ended up cutting the chicken and beef into slightly bigger pieces and threading about 7 pieces of meat on each skewer. I wouldn't recommend that because authentic Malaysian satay is thinly sliced meat and just 5 - 6 per skewer. Oh but don't get me wrong, it was delicious all the same!!

The next time we visit Malaysia I think I’ll actually get a proper satay grill to bring back, just hope the US Customs don’t stop me from bringing it in!

Makes 50 skewers and 8 cups sauce

4 pounds chicken thighs, cut into ¾” pieces
2 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp fennel
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp galangal powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 big red onion
2“ ginger
5 pips garlic
2 stalks lemongrass
2 tbsp peanut oil
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp salt

  • Toast coriander, cumin and fennel separately in a pan until fragrant. Leave to cool then grind finely in spice/coffee grinder.
  • Grind the onion, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass with the oil and about 1/4 cup of water.
  • Marinade chicken in spice mixture, ground ingredients, sugar and salt for at least 2 hours or overnight
  • Soak about 50 bamboo skewers for 15 minutes.
  • Thread about 6 - 7 pieces of chicken on each skewer.
  • Brush on some oil while grilling. Cook for 3 – 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and meat develops a few char spots.

Peanut Sauce
Makes 8 cups

2 onions } grind finely with ¼ cup water
5 pips garlic }
2 stalks lemongrass }
1 tbsp chili powder }
2 cups skinned peanuts
1 tbsp tamarind soaked in ½ cup warm water (or 2 tbsp tamarind puree)
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp salt
1 cup oil

  • Toast peanuts in dry hot wok for about 10 minutes, leave to cool then coarsely grind in a spice/coffee grinder
  • Heat oil, sauté ground ingredients for about 30 minutes until the oil rises to the top, add 1 cup water.
  • When boiling add in the tamarind juice, sugar, salt and ground peanuts. Add more water if necessary (sauce will thicken when cool). Adjust seasoning
  • Serve chicken satay with peanut sauce, cucumber slices, red onion pieces and nasi impit

1 comment:

  1. Except for that fat skewer (gimme!) on the far right, your satay looks just like the famous ones made by the pakcik in Damansara Utama!

    Hey, you can light a fire under that iron table you've used in your photo and turn it into a satay grill!