Our family spent some time in Indonesia and during our stay there, both my children got addicted to the Indonesian style Chicken Satay. They loved it so much that they both would order it at least once a day. In our six months there, we got to sample this dish in all its incarnations – at people’s homes, street stalls or even 5-star hotels! Back in the US, we found that most Asian restaurants served the Thai style satay – which we love as well, but the kids still missed the kind we ate in Jakarta. So I talked to my Indonesian friends and came up with this recipe. It is pretty close to the original that we had enjoyed so much in Jakarta.
- Three pounds of boneless chicken thighs
- 2-3 large cloves of garlic
- 3-4 shallots
- 2 tablespoons of ground coriander powder (freshly ground coriander is better!)
- ½ teaspoon of red pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- One teaspoon salt
- 2 stalks of lemongrass (the white part)
- 2 table spoons of cooking olive oil (Indonesians use cooking oil, I prefer olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon of Sriracha sauce (if you don’t like too much spice, reduce quantity)
- 3 tablespoons of Kecap Manis (sweet soy sauce – it is available at Asian grocery stores, but if you can’t find any, substitute with soy sauce and 3 tablespoons of brown sugar).
- One tablespoon of regular soy sauce.
1. Trim the fat off the chicken thighs and cut into pieces (about 1-2 square inches)
2. Peel garlic cloves and shallots
3. Place the peeled garlic, shallots, lemongrass and rice vinegar in a food processor and grind the ingredients to get a textured paste.
4. Add the dry ingredients (coriander powder, turmeric, salt, and red pepper) and the remaining wet ingredients (sweet soy sauce, soy sauce, olive oil and Sriracha sauce) and mix thoroughly to prepare the marinade.
5. Mix the chicken pieces to this marinade and mix thoroughly.
6. Refrigerate this marinated chicken for 12-24 hours.
7. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and bring the chicken to room temperature before you are ready to grill it.
8. Skewer the chicken on long metal skewers. Indonesians like to use bamboo skewers and you could use those as well but those have to be soaked in water overnight before you can use them over the grill (or they catch fire!)
9. Grill the chicken over medium heat of a grill (I prefer charcoal grills because they give a smoky flavor but gas grills are convenient and can be used as well).
10. Serve with boiled jasmine rice, stir-fried vegetables and peanut sauce (I prepare it by mixing 3 tablespoons of chunky peanut butter, two table spoons of sweet and sour sauce, one table spoon of rice vinegar, one tablespoon brown sugar, one teaspoon of Sriracha sauce and ¼ cup water. Cook this mixture in a small saucepan for 3-4 minutes over low heat. The consistency of the sauce should be like that of a paste – if it is too watery cook it for another minute or two and if it is too thick, add a little bit more water).