Chicken satay, one of my favorite hawker foods in Malaysia, is marinated chicken/beef/pork meat skewed on a bamboo stick and grilled. The meat is flavorful enough, but we like to dip it in satay sauce. In Malaysia, if you go to eat satays, the vendor will bring up a batch of freshly grilled satays, individual satay sauce for each person, and condiments– chopped pieces of cucumber, pineapples, onion and let’s not forget the ketupat (rice cubes)! You can eat as much or as little as you’d like because only the eaten ones count towards your bill– when you are ready to pay, the vendor will collect and count all the empty skewers and tell you the total price. I remember when I was little, the satay costed RM0.10 for each skewer and the condiments (except ketupat) were free, but not anymore…
Malaysian Chicken Satay Recipe (makes about 100 skewers)
6 lbs of boneless chicken thighs– cut across the grain, to strips of 1 inch width– see note below
about 100 bamboo skewers (10 inch)– rinsed
marinade (blend fine):
5 stalks (about 1 bunch) lemon grass
6 gloves garlic
3 tbsp ground coriander seeds
12 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
enough oil to facilitate blending
- Marinate chicken meat in the marinade for 24 hours. Skew the meat on bamboo sticks (about the length of 5 inches). Be sure the top end piece of meat is securely skewed or it may fall off during grilling. The skewing is a very time consuming process so extra pair of hands helps! After skewing, chicken satays can be wrapped up and bag in batches, and keep frozen.
- When it’s time to grill, turn your grill on high heat. Brush chicken satays with some oil and grilled on high heat, uncovered, until the meat is just cooked. Always keep an eye on the satays because the meat is thin and they cook fast. Serve immediately with satay sauce and condiments (pineapples, cucumber, onion and ketupat).
- Chicken thighs: I don’t trim off the chicken fat because they give more flavor and prevent the meat from drying during grilling.