Street food is magical, isn’t it? There is something about traveling and eating ‘what the locals eat’ that makes whatever you are eating extra-special. Of course, a day spent walking and seeing the sights can help sharpen the appetite too. When you return home it can be challenging to recreate the flavors of the foods that you have tasted. One of my favorite street foods is satay, otherwise known as kebabs or if you are a kid, food-on-a-stick. Recently Saveur magazine published a wonderful article (with recipes!) called ‘The World of Satay’. I immediately curled up with it and chose to make several of the recipes—this is hard core research friends! The favorite, the winner that I made for several of my private clients was the Malaysian Chicken Satay, Satay Ayam. My amazing assistant Justine is Malaysian and she vouched wholeheartedly for its authenticity. There were lots of murmurs and of mutterings of ‘this is really good’. This satay is slightly sweet, spicy and aromatic. It is a vibrant yellow color from the addition of turmeric in the marinade. (Turmeric is has long been used in both Chinese and Indian Medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties.) Justine and I adapted the recipe slightly. We left out the lemongrass completely (none to be found at the store!) and we both felt that a 5-inch piece of ginger was excessive for 3 pounds of chicken.
Here is our recipe for Malaysian Chicken Satay
Adapted from Cradle of Flavor by James Oseland
2 Tbsp. oil
¼ cup of dark brown sugar
1 Tbsp. Coriander
2 ½ tsp. Turmeric
1 ½ tsp. Fennel
1 tsp. salt
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large shallot, chopped
2 ½ Tbsp. chopped ginger
¼ tsp. dried chili powder or cayenne
2 ½# boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces.
6 long skewers or 12 short skewers
In the bowl of a food processor or blender combine all of the ingredients except the chicken and process until smooth. Transfer the paste to a bowl, add the chicken and toss to coat. Set aside and let marinate at room temperature for about an hour. (Alternatively marinate in the fridge for several hours.) Thread the chicken onto the skewers and grill or broil for a 4-5 minutes per side. Let the chicken char a bit- this will caramelize the sugar in the marinade. It should smell so scrumptious you won’t be able to stop yourself sneaking a bite!