Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Around The World, Around My Kitchen

I love ethnic food, yes, all of it. There's something about exotic flavors and trying different foods that make me feel more cultured, aware, and well-traveled.  However, given the economy and the fact that I just graduated, I can't go out to eat very much (let alone travel!) so I've started recreating my favorite foreign flavors at home. Thai cuisine is one of my most adored due its diversity that is the result of varying regional cooking techniques.  Plus, I enjoy the heavy use of citrus, fresh herbs and vegetables, and chilies so I decided to recreate a classic: chicken satay with peanut sauce.

This was incredibly quick and easy to make so its good to prepare after a long day, tapas if you're having people over, or simply if you enjoy Thai food and chicken satay.  I served this with a spinach salad, but obviously steamed white rice would be a great accompaniment.  So give this a try and koh hai cha-roen ar-harn!  that means, hope you enjoy in Thai.


Chicken Skewers:

4 chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch to 1 inch strips
wooden skewers

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of cumin
juice of one lime
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
2 teaspoons melted smooth peanut butter (you can melt the peanut butter in the microwave)

Peanut Sauce:
3/4 cup of chicken broth
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup of melted peanut butter (smooth or chunky depending on preference, I used smooth)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
3 teaspoons
juice of one lime
chopped cilantro (optional, to stir in at the end)
pinch of red pepper (optional, to stir in for a bit of heat)
toasted peanuts* (optional, to incorporate at the end)

*To toast peanuts, just evenly spread them on a cookie sheet in a 350-375 degree oven for a few minutes.  The peanuts are done when they are brown and the smell of peanuts strengthens.


Marinade and Chicken:
Whisk ingredients for the marinade together in a bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved, and peanut butter is incorporated. Place chicken strips into a large ziploc bag, pour in marinade, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Place two chicken strips on each skewer. I put them on to look like an "S" instead of just poking the skewer straight through.  Place in a 375 degree on a cookie sheet or broiler pan  until chicken is cooked.  Once chicken is thoroughly cooked,  broil the chicken skewers on low to develop a nice crust and char on the meat.

Peanut Sauce:
While the chicken bakes, prepare the peanut sauce by melting the peanut butter over low heat in a saucepan.  Once the peanut butter begins to melt add the coconut milk and chicken broth.  Stir until smooth.  Once the first thee components are well mixed, add the remaining ingredients and allow to simmer on low to medium heat as the sauce thins and develops its texture.  Sauce should be thick, but able to be drizzled or easily poured.


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