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Thai chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce is worth a try

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By Norm Harding, Reporter

If you’re in the mood for something different but don’t really want to go out to eat, you can’t go wrong with some delicious Thai chicken satay served on skewers with your own homemade peanut dipping sauce.
This dish is easy and takes less than an hour to prep and cook. Strips of chicken, beef or pork are marinated in an easy-to-make Thai marinade, and then skewered and grilled or broiled in the oven. The skewered meat is then served with your own homemade peanut sauce for the ultimate taste sensation. Satay also makes for a terrific party food.
While most versions of satay sauce are made with peanut butter, mine is made with real peanuts. Just throw all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and churn away. Satay sauce is not only great as a dip for chicken, beef or pork satay, but it can also be used as an Asian salad dressing or as a dip with veggies or chips/crackers.

Thai Chicken Satay
This dish can be made with either strips of chicken, beef or pork. Remember to soak your wooden skewers overnight so they won’t burn up on the grill.
1 pkg. wooden skewers
6 boneless chicken thighs
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup dark soy sauce
1 tsp. minced ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
Peanut dipping sauce (see recipe below)
If using wooden skewers, soak them in water (preferable overnight) or while you prepare the meat (to prevent burning). Cut the chicken thighs into thin strips and place in a bowl. Place all marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender and process well. Pour the marinade over the meat and stir well to combine. Allow at least one hour for marinating (up to 24 hours).
When ready to cook, thread the chicken strips onto the skewers. Be sure to leave enough room on the wooden skewer for a “handle” to easily turn the satay during cooking. Pour the remaining marinade in a small pot and bring to a boil.
Grill the satay, basting with a little of the leftover marinade. (You can also broil in the oven on a broiling pan or baking sheet with the oven set to “broil.” Place satay close beneath the heating element and turn the meat every five minutes until cooked.
Serve with rice and some of the Thai peanut sauce for dipping. Makes 4-6 servings.

Thai Peanut Sauce
1 cup dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
1/3 cup water
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dark soy sauce
2 tsps. sesame oil
2 Tbsps. brown sugar
3 Tbsps. fish sauce or regular soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/3 cup coconut milk
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until sauce is smooth.
Be sure to taste the sauce. If not salty enough, add more soy sauce; if not spicy enough, add more cayenne pepper. If too salty, add a squeeze of fresh lime juice. If not sweet enough, add more sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Note: The sauce tends to thicken as it sits, so just add a little water or coconut milk to thin it out.

Grilled Chicken with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Chicken is coated with a yogurt and Dijon mustard mixture, coated with a blend of chopped pecans, breadcrumbs, minced fresh rosemary and grated cheese and then grilled to perfection and served with a honey mustard dipping sauce.
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 Tbsps. Dijon mustard
4 boneless chicken breasts, (about 1/4-inch thick)
Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cooking spray
Honey mustard dressing (for dipping)
Coat the grill with cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium heat, 350 degrees. If using an oven, preheat to 425 degrees. Combine yogurt and mustard in a shallow dish and blend, using a whisk. Add chicken to the yogurt mixture and coat well; set aside.
In a small skillet over medium-high heat, add panko crumbs and pecans to the pan and toast for 2-3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Combine panko and pecans with grated cheese and minced rosemary in a shallow dish. Season with salt and pepper. Remove chicken from yogurt mixture and discard mixture. Dredge chicken in panko mixture.
If using an oven, arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet and coat rack with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on the grill (or rack). Cook for 20-25 minutes, turning once, until chicken is done. Served over a bed of baby romaine and honey mustard dressing for dipping. Makes 4 servings.

Basic Red Mexican Salsa
Serve this salsa over baked chicken, as a topping for a baked potato or as a dipping sauce for tortilla chips.
3 medium tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 jalapeno chile pepper, seeded, finely chopped
2 Tbsps. finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsps. fresh limejuice1 tsp. finely chopped fresh garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
In medium bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover; refrigerate at least one hour. For a thicker salsa, first sprinkle chopped tomatoes with salt. Let stand at least one hour; drain juice. Continue as above, omitting salt. Makes about 2 cups.
Norm Harding is a cooking columnist for the Beacon. To send him recipes, e-mail him at nharding@brunswickbeacon.com.