Thursday, January 14, 2010

Daring Cooks/Satay

This month's Daring Cook's Challenge was to make Thai satay. I have never made satay before but was pleasantly surprised to find out how simple it is. I think that the simplicity of this recipe makes it worthwhile to keep on hand because it can so easily be made on a whim and the marinade is an ideal balance between tangy and rich adding a deliciously intense flavor to the chicken (or whatever meat you use).

The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

Although satay can be made with practically anything, I chose to go down a simple route and use chicken and vegetables. The chicken was a great backdrop for the ginger, garlic and coriander that shone through the marinade. The vegetables were just the ideal side dish and I loved the way they absorbed the flavors of the marinade as they cooked. Although I have only ever eaten satay on a skewer, traditionally it is made either on or off the skewer. It is my personal belief that satay isn't satay without a skewer, but a part of me wishes I hadn't been so stubborn. It turns out that skewers will poke right through a zip loc bag, which I learned the hard ways as the marinade leaked through the holes in the marinating bag and all over my counter (I have the turmeric stains to prove it). Although I managed to salvage the chicken, it looks like the next time I make satay I will err on the side of caution and steer clear of sharp, pointy objects, that's usually a good call anyhow.

Although I was pretty embarrassed by the mess I made, I was even more disappointed in the peanut dipping sauce recipe. In my opinion the coconut milk that the recipe called for overpowered the sauce and took away from the richness of the spices, soy sauce and peanut butter that were in there. It was almost as if the coconut milk subdued the crucial spices rather than amplify them the way a good satay sauce should and (usually) does. In the future I will probably make this sweet chile dipping sauce or Ina Garten's satay dip. That being said, my disappointment in the sauce definitely didn't take away from the dish overall; the marinade was so flavorful that the chicken and vegetables were delicious on their own. I will be definitely be making this again, which in my mind is proof enough that it is a worthwhile recipe for you to try as well. Just remember pointy skewers and zip loc bags are not a good match, I learned the hard way.

Chicken & Vegetable Satay
serves 4
3 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 T ginger root, chopped (optional) (4 cm cubed)
4 T lemon juice (1 oz or 30 mls)
2 T soy sauce (0.5 oz or 15 mls)
2 tsp ground coriander (5 mls)
2 tsp ground cumin (5 mls)
1 tsp ground turmeric (2-2.5 mls)
4 T vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil) (30 mls)
3 chicken breasts
1 lb. mixed vegetables in 1" pieces, I used zucchini, peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes.
1) If you have a food processor or blender, dump in everything except the pork and blend until smooth. If not, chop onions, garlic and ginger really fine then mix it all together in a medium to large bowl. Divide into two equal portions.
2) Cut chicken into 1 inch strips. Cover chicken with marinade. You can place the pork into a bowl, cover/seal and chill, or place the whole lot of it into a ziploc bag, seal and chill. Make sure to marinate it for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
3) Divide the vegetables on skewers and place in a 9 x 13" glass baking dish, pour the marinade over it. These only need to marinate for a few hours, turn them occasionally.

Cooking Instructions:
1) Set a large sautee pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes a side (depending on the size of the piece of chicken) until cooked through. Make sure the pan is hot enough to make a slightly charred crust on the chicken.
2) Oven roast the vegetables in the marinating dish (with the marinade) for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, this allows them to caramelize with the marinade and cook all the way through. Do this while you're cooking the chicken.


Winnie said...

Your chicken satay looks great. Sorry you didn't love the peanut sauce (I did it with tahini and added quite a bit of chili garlic sauce, so I enjoyed mine).
Your pics are very pretty!

Sarah said...

Wow french that looks delicious!
You know how I feel about peanut butter haha. When I feel adventurous I will definitely try this out

Esi said...

I agree, this recipe is definitely a great one to have on hand if the mood strikes. Lovely job!

pdc said...

Looking at pictures I can taste it, and th pictured do really look great

Olga said...

Ooh such pretty white dishes and awesome photos.

Barbara Bakes said...

I love you serving dishes! Great job on this challenge. Looks delicious!