Chinese Chicken Satay recipe
There is one scene in the television show "Kath & Kim" that Mr NQN and I quote to each other often. There's just two words that we say to each other but it makes us giggle. The words are "noodles tonight" and the scene is one in which Kath and Kel come across the Ng and Gung Ho family in the supermarket. They greet them from across the aisle and yell out "We're having noodles tonight!"
Sometimes when I meet people, they let me know that they love noodles and Asian food and cook it a lot. I think it's their way of saying "we like your culture" and I don't take offence at all. I always feel that it's much better than people telling you the opposite - that they hate your culture. And besides which, I've often remarked to Hungarian people how much I like their cakes and the same goes for so many countries.
A few weeks ago someone mentioned how much they liked satay to me in conversation. It reminded me of how much I love my mother's satay chicken skewers. I think everyone thinks that their mum's satay or food is the best. My mother first cooked these in 1970 when she took a Chinese cooking class in her native Singapore. She has the original water drop stained photocopy sheet which is type written. Over the years she has simplified it because she worked part time.
Her satay recipe is unusual and so flavoursome because she marinates the chicken in a sauce similar to the satay sauce which adds so much flavour to the meat. The sauce takes about 10 minutes to cook courtesy of the peanut butter and apart from the fridge time while it marinates, the most time taken is with threading the meat on the skewers. This task usually fell to my grandmother when she lived with us and she would do it while watching television.
As with most Asian cooking, it is best done with all the ingredients prepped beforehand. The satay sauce recipe can be halved or even quartered as it makes lots of sauce but I've found that there is no shortage of people that are happy to receive a jar. I've found it great on tofu steaks and vegetables as well as chicken and you can certainly switch the chicken for beef or pork!
So tell me Dear Reader, do you follow recipes exactly or do you adapt them to suit what you have and the time that you have? And which country's food do you eat most often?
Makes about 20 satay sticks
- 1 kilo/2 pounds chicken thigh fillet
- 1 onion, peeled
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
- oil for frying
- 3 onions, peeled
- 2 stalks lemongrass, sliced
- 600g/21.2 ozs. crunchy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds
- small cube of shrimp paste (about 1x1cms)
- 1/8 cup tamarind juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 cups water
The curry powder my mother uses
Step 1 - Cut the meat into cubes. Blend the onion, garlic and lemongrass together until fine. Place in a bowl or container with the sugar, peanut butter, salt and curry powder. Mix the meat into the marinade and place in the fridge for 3-4 hours or overnight.
Step 2 - Thread onto the bamboo skewers and grill under a hot grill until done.
Step 3 - To make the sauce, blend the garlic, onions and lemongrass together. Put a wok or large saucepan on and add some oil. Fry the shrimp paste, breaking it down into the oil with the wooden spoon or spatula. Then add the blended garlic, onion and lemongrass and fry until fragrant.
Step 4- Add the curry powder and stir until fragrant. Then add the peanut butter and sesame seeds. Add the tamarind juice and the water one cup at a time stirring until combined. You may only need 5 cups, just stop adding the water when it reaches the consistency you want. Add the sugar and salt to taste. Serve with the satay sticks.