Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Kebab week: Chicken satay

This week on Northern Food I shall be celebrating one of humankind's greatest inventions. Not the wheel or the steam engine; not the internet, sliced bread or the Dyson vaccum cleaner; not even the flushing lavatory.

The pinnacle of civilisation is this: the kebab.

Two points of order: firstly I'm using a fairly loose definition of the word 'kebab' as propounded by the internet Oracle. Secondly there will absolutely, categorically not be any processed doner meat involved.

I'm kicking things off with a South-east Asian classic, a kebab usually eaten as a snack or more often, in Europe, as a starter. An appropriate starting point for kebab week.

Chicken satay, little nuggety bits of charred yet juicy chicken in a salty sweet marinade, dipped in a spicy peanut sauce. These are very delicious, and exceedingly more-ish.

I use chicken thigh meat which won't dry out so much as breast and is tastier anyway. I think chicken livers and hearts would also be good if you can get your hands on them. The recipe is probably inauthentic, but it's easy and tastes great so who cares.

This makes enough for about 6 skewers.

For the chicken

3 tbsp dark soy
1/2 tbsp jaggery (palm sugar)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tbsp oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small lump ginger (2-3cm)
1 tsp turmeric
2 chicken thighs (about 100 g each)

for the peanut sauce

1 1/2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 tbsp shop bought tamarind sauce
1 tsp garlic ginger mush
1 tsp tsp chilli powder
water to loosen

1. Mash the garlic and ginger to a paste, set aside 1 tsp worth of it then mix the rest up in a bowl with all of the other marinade ingredients except for the chicken.

2. Using scissors, cut the chicken into small pieces about 2 cm across and throw into the marinade.

3. Mix up well and leave to marinade for at least 2 hours, ideally 12.

4. Mix up all of the peanut sauce ingredients in a bowl including the leftover garlic/ginger, then add water and keep mixing until you get a sauce. It should be runny enough to coat the back of a spoon with the excess running off, not sitting there in a big splodge.

5. When you're almost ready to eat thread the chicken onto kebab skewers and grill on the highest setting as close as possible to the heat (or better still, barbecue) until done. They should only take a couple of minutes.

6. Serve immediately with the peanut sauce and cold beer.

Coming soon - stay tuned for falafel. 

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