There are three types of satay sauce that I have come across over the past few years: pure peanut, hoisin based and coconut based. The recipe in this week’s post, as you will see, is clearly the final one from that list. You get a much milder peanut flavour as the coconut milk tones it down a lot and the final sauce is super creamy and fragrant. A good satay shouldn’t be too rich so tamarind and lime juice are added to help cut through the fat from the nuts and coconut milk. The spices add extra flavour and, as always, homemade means that you can choose your heat level.
A true satay will be made with peanuts which are roasted and ground by hand. Few of us actually have time to do this and so the best replacement is peanut butter. While you can use a low quality peanut butter for this recipe, the better the peanut butter, the better the sauce. Good peanut butter doesn’t need extra oil or flavours added, it should be pure, blended peanuts. You will also have the choice of crunchy or smooth peanut butter. I will always choose crunchy. It just gives some extra texture to the dish and you get the peanut flavour from the pieces.
Traditional peanut sauce is from Indonesia – it was first recorded to have been made on Java. It is made by grinding up roasted or fried peanuts with various aromatics and then thinned out with water. Unlike hoisin based satay sauces, both traditional and coconut based ones are not overly sweet or too salty. The balancing of the sweet and salty and richness in a satay sauce can be difficult to achieve but when it works the resulting sauce is wonderful to eat (and to be honest, I would just use a spoon and eat it straight from the jar). Before cooking, the meat used in satay dishes is marinated in a turmeric based sauce which gives the dish its distinctive yellow colour (you may notice that I do not do that in the dish below but you are perfectly welcome to).
The best thing about the coconut based sauce is that you don’t have to use it just on chicken – or any other kind of meat. You can use this as a dipping sauce for raw veg or Vietnamese summer rolls. It is incredibly versatile.
Chicken Satay Curry
Time: 15 minutes
2 chicken breasts
400g peanut butter
400ml coconut milk
Juice of half a lime
2 tbsp soy sauce
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 finely grated medium chilli
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Vegetables of your choice: I use bamboo and water chestnuts. You could also use peppers or onion
Optional sauce ingredients: 2 tsp tamarind paste, ½ tsp ground coriander, ½ tsp ground cumin
Thinly slice the chicken and set aside.
Finely chop the onion and two cloves garlic.
Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion.
Sautee until the onion is translucent and then add the garlic. Stir fry for another minute.
Add the chicken and spread it over the pan so it can all cook evenly. Remember to stir regularly.
While the chicken is cooking, whisk together the peanut butter, coconut milk, chilli, lime, honey and honey. Mince the remaining clove of garlic, grate the ginger and add those to the sauce.
After about five minutes, pour the sauce over the chicken and heat until the sauce is bubbling. It will slacken up as the peanut butter melts.
Add the veg and cook for another few minutes to ensure the chicken is fully cooked. Serve with rice and garnish with fresh lime and coriander.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe. The sauce is amazing and can be used for far more than just chicken and it is so easy to make!
Have a good one and I will be back next week with an amazing decorative cake.