It’s been officially a year and ten months that I’ve lived in Asia; it doesn’t take nearly that long to notice a fair amount of skewered chicken. Japanese yakitori, grilled chicken that is savory, juicy and tender can easily be found in many izakaya or Japanese pubs. When we were in Thailand on a quick layover in Bangkok we walked around looking at the street vendors. One thing we noticed is the abundance of fresh fruits. Mangos for a dollar, a steal compared to the seven dollar mangoes in Okinawa. Another thing we couldn’t miss was the chicken satay. Grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce. You can’t walk a hundred yards without someone offering it to you. Our last trip in Seoul, more street vendors, more chicken skewers. I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at chicken on sticks.
My favorite interpretation of the idea is the Thai chicken satay with coconut milk, cilantro and curry powder. It doesn’t hurt that they like to pair it with peanut sauce that’s a little sweet, moderately spicy and completely lit up with flavor. Quite honestly, it was another excuse to make my darling husband grill and work a little more for his dinner.
This recipe makes enough chicken skewers for several people so feel free to cut it in half. However, Matt wasn’t complaining that there were leftovers. Just find a nice night for sitting outside and you’re set. Enjoy!
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- freshly ground pepper
- 4 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 16-20 wooden skewers or metal if you prefer
- lime wedges for serving
- cilantro for garnish
- 14.5 ox can (almost 2 cups) cups coconut milk
- ¼ cup chopped unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
- 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 3 Tablespoons Asian fish sauce
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon green curry paste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced then crushed to a paste
- To make the marinade in a bowl, stir together the coconut milk, fish sauce, garlic, cilantro, curry powder and 1 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
- Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat pounder to an even thickness of about ½ inch.
- Then, using a sharp knife cut each breast lengthwise into 2-4 strips depending on the size of your chicken breasts. Place chicken breasts and marinade in a large bowl, stir and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for four to 8 hours.
- At least 30 minutes before you are ready to begin grilling, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Discard the marinade and pat the chicken strips dry with paper towels. Soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes. This is important or they will burn over the grill.
- Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat. Brush and oil the grill grate.
- To prepare the spicy peanut sauce: in a saucepan over medium heat combine the coconut milk, peanuts, peanut butter, fish sauce, lime, sugar, curry paste, paprika and garlic. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly stirring occasionally until thickened and reduced by half, 15-20 minutes. Set aside off the heat. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Garnish with lime wedge and cilantro