Anthony Bourdain’s chicken satay with fake-ass spicy peanut sauce

Marinaded chicken on a stick with a peanut dipping sauce: "Lowbrow items that even the most discerning guests go crazy for at catered parties"

Chicken satay. Photograph: iStock

Chicken satay. Photograph: iStock

 

There are certain lowbrow items that even the most discerning guests go crazy for at catered parties. Among them are pigs in blankets, steroidal strawberries dipped in chocolate, and meat on a stick. Trim a pineapple and jab a bunch of chicken skewers into it, like some demented poultry porcupine, and do not skimp on the Fake-Ass Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Makes about 45 pieces

Ingredients
Half a cup vegetable or other neutral oil
Juice of 3 lemons, or 2 lemons and 2 limes (about 6 tbsp)
Quarter cup plus 2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp soy sauce
3 stalks lemongrass, coarsely chopped, or finely grated zest of 3 lemons or 5 limes
2 shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric or mild yellow curry powder
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise into 1-inch-thick strips
1 cup chunky peanut butter
½ cup hot water
½ cup coconut milk
1 tbsp sriracha sauce, or to taste (but you want it spicy)

Method
In a blender, combine the oil, the juice of two lemons, a quarter cup of fish sauce, two tablespoons of soy sauce, the lemongrass, shallots, three of the garlic cloves, quarter cup of the sugar, the coriander, and turmeric. Blend on high speed for about 30 seconds.

Place the chicken in 1-gallon zip-seal plastic bags or a large glass casserole or baking dish with a cover and pour the marinade over, turning the pieces so that they are all coated. Seal and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours (any more time than that, and the acid and salt in the marinade will begin to erode the structural integrity of the flesh, leaving you with revoltingly mushy chicken).

While the chicken marinates, make the peanut sauce. In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, hot water, and coconut milk and whisk well. Add the remaining juice of one lemon or two limes, two tablespoons fish sauce, one teaspoon soy sauce, two tablespoons sugar, and the sriracha and whisk well, adding a bit more water or coconut milk if necessary to thin the sauce to desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning with additional splashes of soy sauce, fish sauce, citrus juice or sugar as desired. Cover and refrigerate the sauce until 30 minutes before serving.

Soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes before cooking the chicken.

Preheat your grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade in the small bowl. Thread one piece on each skewer, leaving enough room at the bottom of the skewer for a “handle”.

Grill for five minutes, then turn the skewers and use a basting or pastry brush to coat the chicken with the reserved marinade. Cook for another five minutes, or until cooked through (cut through the centre of one piece to make sure there’s no translucent pink flesh). Serve hot, with the peanut sauce alongside for dipping.

Taken from Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain, published by Bloomsbury (£26), with photographs by Bobby Fisher

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