Coriander and Coconut Chicken Satay recipe – squeeze over a dash of lime and dip into the creamy Peanut Sauce
800 g skinless, boneless chicken thighs
a little sunflower or canola oil, for frying
For the marinade:
1 x 400 ml tin coconut milk
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
3 fat cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp (10 ml) Kikkoman soy sauce
1 tsp (5 ml) brown sugar (or palm sugar, if you have it)
the finely grated zest and juice of a lime
a small green chilli, deseeded and sliced, or a large pinch of red chilli flakes
milled black pepper (but no salt)
1 cup, fairly closely packed (250 ml), fresh coriander
½ cup (125 ml) thick natural or Greek-style yoghurt
For the sauce:
8 Tbsp (120 ml) smooth peanut butter
Trim any visible fat globules from the chicken thighs and prepare them as follows: place a thigh, shiny side down, on a chopping board. Holding a knife parallel to the board, slice horizontally through the thicker part of the thigh to take off an upper ‘leaf’ of meat (see picture, below). Repeat with the other thighs.
Cut all the chicken into long strips about the width of your thumb. Don’t worry if there are some raggy left-over bits and pieces: each thigh should yield one or two nice neat strips, and some smaller pieces. Thread a few pieces of chicken onto each stick and arrange them in a plastic or ceramic dish with their thick ends facing inward in ‘teepee’ formation.
Place the coconut milk, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, lime zest, lime juice and chilli into a blender, or the jug attachment on a stick blender, and whizz at high speed until smooth. Now add the coriander and pulse until the leaves are very finely chopped, but not obliterated. Measure out three-quarters of a cup (180 ml) of this marinade into a small bowl and add the yoghurt. Stir well. Cover the leftover marinade and set aside (you’ll use this for the sauce).
Pour the yoghurt marinade all over the chicken kebabs, turning them gently to make sure they are coated. Add the squeezed-out lime halves, cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably two. (You can marinate these for up to 24 hours without any discernible loss of texture.)
Just before you’re going to cook the chicken, make the peanut sauce. Into a saucepan, put the peanut butter and 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of the reserved, non-yoghurty marinade (don’t use the marinade you poured over the chicken!) Over a very low flame, heat the sauce, stirring constantly, until it comes together smoothly and begins to darken. Don’t allow the mixture to boil. Whisk in just enough of the remaining reserved marinade (about three-quarters of a cup should do this trick) to create a smooth, creamy, thickish sauce. When it is very hot, but before bubbles break the surface, remove from heat. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning: it may need a little more fresh lime juice for acidity, or some salt and pepper. Cover the surface of the sauce with a sheet of clingfilm and set aside.
Heat a large frying pan or flat griddle pan and add a lick of oil. Shake the excess marinade from the chicken kebabs and fry them over a medium-high heat, in batches, for about 6 minutes, or until the chicken flesh is just cooked through and there is not a trace of pinkness. They will stick to the pan at first, but let them fry undisturbed for at least two minutes on one side before gently nudging them with a spatula until they loosen. Then flip them over and fry the other sides.
Serve immediately with lime wedges and the warm peanut sauce.
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Recipe and photo copyright – Jane-Anne Hobbs. See more recipes at her delicious food blog: www.scrumptious.co.za