In the kitchen, I have a compulsion to stray from the recipe. If cooking were a kindergarten class, I’d probably get a lot of frowny faces for failure to follow the directions.
I think it’s because I want to be able to throw ingredients together and come up with something magical on my own. But that takes a lot of practice. At this middle-age stage in my life, I am only now getting to the point where I can do that with success.
A couple of years ago, I posted this recipe for chicken satay with peanut sauce. It was a hit with my guests and my husband. But when I got a craving for the same dish last night, I was sucked into the latest Penzey’s catalog and decided to try their version instead. Well, a version of their version. Which means I looked at the ingredients and tossed all of the ingredients in, but with the addition of a few extras and not necessarily in the same quantities.
The marinade turned out to be a smashing success (except for those turmeric-yellow fingernails I mentioned yesterday). The peanut sauce, which I made by the book, was a serious disappointment. C’mon, Penzey’s, I know you can do better than a thick, gloppy sauce that tastes more like straight peanut butter than a sauce! It probably should’ve served as a warning to me that the sauce itself did not call for any Penzey’s seasonings.
But here’s the result: I have an even BETTER recipe for the satay marinade, and I now know that the first peanut sauce recipe I tried was a winner. So maybe mixing and matching isn’t always such a bad idea! A couple of notes:
* It’s easier to thinly slice chicken or pork for satay if you do it when the meat has only partially thawed.
* If a recipe calls for fish sauce and you omit it, it won’t turn out the way it’s supposed to. Maybe that’s OK for those who dislike fish, but it really is an essential ingredient in some wonderful Asian dishes. Buy a small bottle at an Asian market. It’ll last a long time.
* I’m thinking the satay style of skewering is a winner, particularly for chicken, because it turns out such tender, flavor-coated pieces. So even if you don’t like traditional satay marinade, try using your favorite marinade with the same preparation style. Bonus: It grills in NO time!
I’m going to share my new favorite marinade recipe and repost the winning peanut sauce recipe. And henceforth, this will be my go-to plan for chicken or pork satay!
Do you have a favorite recipe that differs from this?
Chicken or Pork Satay
2 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, thighs or boneless pork, sliced into thin strips
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. dried turmeric
2 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin
3 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Hot sauce or minced red chiles to taste (I used about 1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce)
Whisk together all ingredients except the meat. Add meat and stir until it is all coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Soak bamboo skewers for 20 minutes in water. Remove meat from the fridge and thread onto skewers, making sure to thread tightly enough that pieces of meat are not flopping off the skewers when you handle them.
Heat grill to medium and grill, turning several times, until chicken is cooked through. Serve with peanut sauce (below).
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1-2 tsp. hot chili sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
1/2 cup peanut oil
1. Mix all ingredients together. It should have a sweet/hot flavor. Taste and adjust ingredients accordingly. Serve with chicken or pork.
Sauce recipe source: www.cooks.com