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Thai chicken satay sticks


Thai food is now common place in the UK. Thai food take-aways abound and fast food Thai food restaurants sit side by side with Indian and Chinese establishments on the high road. I can still remember the first time I tried Thai food. This was back in the day when Thai food still seemed to be much more exotic than either Indian or Chinese cuisine. I will never forget the simplicity of both the restaurant and the food and the way it was served. And the taste - oh the taste of it! I'd never tasted anything quite like it before. Since then I've travelled to Thailand a number of times and one of the best things you can eat is chicken satay made fresh on a charcoal grill on the beach. This recipe is not quite the same, but it's pretty close. As you eat it, imagine the wet heat, the smell of the sea, and the sand sticking to the oil on your back from the beach massage you've just enjoyed -  you'll almost feel like you're there.

Thai Chicken Satay

6 Chicken breast halves
- boned, skinned -- and cut
- into 1/2" wide strips

MARINADE
1 Tablespoon Light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Curry powder
2 Tablespoons Crunchy peanut butter
1/2 Cup Soy sauce
1/2 Cup Freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Garlic cloves -- minced
Crushed dried chile peppers

PEANUT SAUCE
2/3 c Crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 c Coconut milk, unsweetened
1/4 c Freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tb Soy sauce
2 tb Molasses (or brown sugar)
1 ts Fresh ginger root, grated
4 Garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c Chicken broth
1/4 c Heavy cream
Cayenne pepper
Grated lime zest
Fresh cilantro sprigs.

To make the marinade, combine the first 7 ingredients in a shallow dish. Thread the chicken strips onto bamboo skewers in a serpentine fashion. Place the skewers into the soy sauce mixture and let marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours, although overnight is preferable.

Make the peanut sauce by combining the next 7 ingredients (peanut butter through garlic) in a saucepan. Season to taste with cayenne pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce is as thick as heavy cream (about 15 minutes). Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree briefly. Add chicken broth and cream and blend until smooth. This mixture can be made several hours ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Prepare moderate-hot charcoal coals or preheat a broiler.

Cook the skewered chicken, turning several times and basting with the marinade, until crispy on the outside but still moist on the inside, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle grilled chicken with lime zest and garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with the peanut sauce for dipping.

 

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