While I am still not convinced that the flavor is as good with gas grilling—over charcoal—it is certainly more convenient. Wanting something a bit different for a weeknight dinner, I settled on chicken satay. Satay, in the end, is just marinated meat grilled on a stick. While originating in Indonesia, it spread over Southeast Asia with each culture adding its own distinctions. Usually it is accompanied by a dipping sauce, some kind of peanut sauce being one of the more common.
Note: Satay is the modern Indonesian spelling of sate, the original spelling that you will sometimes see.
To be a satay, the marinade should include turmeric to give it a yellow color. After that, it is just about anything goes. Wikipedia lists 37 variations of just Indonesian satays, with each region having its own preferred meats, marinades and dipping sauces.
This is more of a California fusion recipe. While I looked at several recipes, in the end I did not see any that really grabbed me. I did my usual take ingredient from recipe A and ingredient from recipe B, to come up with something I thought would taste good. I had bought a fresh pineapple and I decided that grilling it would make a good side dish.
Karl’s Chicken Satay with Pineapple Peanut Sauce
2-3 chicken breasts
2 Tbs. sweet onion, grated
2 tsp. tamarind paste
1½ Tbs. peanut oil
1 tsp. coriander seed, ground
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. palm sugar
½ tsp. Kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste
2 Tbs. hot water
Karl’s California Fusion Peanut sauce
⅓ cup peanut butter, creamy
2 Tbs. peanut oil
2 Tbs. fresh pineapple, minced
1 Tbs. Jalapeño pepper, minced
1 tsp. palm sugar
2 garlic cloves, mashed
Pinch Kosher salt
¼ cup hot water
1. Partially freeze the chicken breast, about 30 minutes,
Tip: Half freezing the chicken make the meat firm enough to slice easily.
2. Slice the chicken into ¼-⅜ inch slices.
3. Put all of the marinade ingredients into a small bowl and then add the hot water.
Tip: The hot water help to dissolve the tamarind paste and palm sugar.
4. Whisk the marinade until well mixed.
5, Place the chicken and marinade in a sealable plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Tip: Overnight is better.
6. Put all of the dipping sauce ingredients into a small bowl and then add the hot water.
Tip: The peanut butter tends to absorb the liquid in the sauce. You may need to add a bit more hot water, just before serving to thin out the sauce.
7. String the chicken strips on the skewers and grill directly over a high heat, until well browned.
8. Serve the chicken on the skewers with rice and the peanut sauce on the side.
Tip: If your peanut sauce has gone cold or thickened too much, add some hot water. Do not microwave it! This will cause the sauce to “break,” separating the oil from the rest of the sauce leaving you with an oily mess.
Note: I also had grilled pineapple as a side dish.