Ever since I was a little younger than Lara is now, chicken satay has been one of my favourite meals. In our house, chicken satay with rice and an oriental salad (gado gado) is probably our number one family meal that we all enjoy together. These days the girls can help me out with a few of the main elements of the meal.
We like to serve our chicken satay with fluffy basmati rice (ideally cooked in a Rice Cooker to make it extra fluffy and to make sure that the whole house fills with the yummy smell of rice in the build up to dinner time). I make a sweet and hot peanut dipping sauce to accompany the satay and serve the whole meal with prawn crackers.
CHICKEN SATAY with PEANUT SAUCE (serves 4)
3 large chicken breasts
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chinese five spice powder
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce or ketchap manis
2 cloves of garlic
1 inches of ginger root
1 heaped teaspoon cornflour
For the sauce
2 heaped tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
180ml of tap water
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder (or to taste)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
For the salad
half a cucumber
a handful of cashew nuts
3-4 hard-boiled eggs
1. Peel and roughly chop the ginger and garlic. Dice the chicken into pieces no bigger than 1 inch cubes. Place the chicken pieces with the ginger, garlic, turmeric, five spice powder, oil, soy sauce and cornflour into a large mixing bowl and mix well to coat. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to marinate. Holly loves messy jobs like this (and beware, turmeric and oil have a tendency of staining EVERYTHING) but her big sister isn't so keen.
2. You can make the sauce well ahead of time. Place all of the ingredients into a small saucepan and heat over a very gentle heat until the peanut butter melts into the water. It will look like it is separated. Keep stirring and within a couple of minutes it will miraculously thicken. Once it does this, take it off the heat and pour straight into small dipping bowls to cool.
3. I also like to prepare the salad in advance because it gives me more time to concentrate on other things later. You can serve the salad hot or cold. Chop the carrot into batons and steam over a pan of hot water until just softened. Place the beansprouts into the boiling water you used for steaming the carrots and keep them there for a maximum of one minute before draining them. Chop the cucumber into batons around the same size as the carrots and then mix all the vegetables together. Sprinkle on the cashew nuts (you may wish to toast them first) and pieces of boiled egg. Sometimes we also sprinkle on slices of fresh red chilli, or fresh corriander. You can also make this salad with green beans.
4. Place the marinated chicken pieces onto skewers. We currently use small metal kebab skewers but the traditionalist in me prefers to use bamboo skewers (you can buy big bags of these in your local supermarket) because I love the smell of the bamboo as it warms (aka burns) under the grill.
5. Grill the satay kebabs for around 10-15 minutes, turning frequently to ensure that the chicken is cooked all the way through.
Serve your satay with steamed basmati rice and prawn crackers for dipping into the peanut sauce (this is our favourite part of the whole meal).