SFF 2011 Recipe: Chicken Satay


Singapore owes her multicultural culinary heritage to the immigrants that populated the island from all parts of the world. Ethnic Indians form the third largest racial group in Singapore, thus Indian food has had a strong influence in shaping Singapore's culinary history with notable local favourites such as Roti Prata, Nasi Briyani and Putu Mayam

I found it interesting that Satay which is an Indonesian adaptation of a dish with its origins in Persia that spread through the Middle East, the Indian Sub-Continent and South East Asia was given an additional Indian touch with heavier hints of spices like ground coriander seed, ground cumin seeds and turmeric.
Here's the recipe for Chicken Satay courtesy of The Gateway Hotels and Resorts (serves 4):
Ingredients for Satay Marinade 1 tsp Coriander Seed Powder (Roasted) 1 tsp Cumin Seed Powder (Roasted) 1/2 tsp Sea Salt 1 tbsp Chili Paste (4 Fresh Bird's Eye Chilis or 2 Red Serrano Chilis) 1/4 cup Minced Lemongrass (1 lemongrass bulb with tough outer layers) 1 tsp Turmeric Powder 1/3 cup Minced Shallots 1 tbsp Ground Blanched Almonds 1/2 cup Coconut Cream and Milk (Combined)
Ingredients for Satay 
250 g Chicken Fillets (cut into thick strips)
10 sticks Bamboo Skewers (soaked in water for 30 minutes, then dried)
Vegetable Oil Spray
1 Cucumber (diced)
1 Red Onion (diced)
Ingredients for Peanut Sauce
75 ml Peanut Oil
4 tbsp Sliced Shallots / Diced Red Onion
1 tbsp Chopped Garlic
5 - 6 pieces Large Dried Chili
1 tbsp Roasted Cumin Powder
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
2 tbsp Dark Soya Sauce
1 tbsp Lime Juice
200 g Peanut Butter
3 tbsp Brown Sugar
60 g Roasted Peanuts (coarsely ground)
Method for Preparing the Chicken Satay:

1) Put the coriander seeds in a small skillet and dry-roast over medium-high heat, sliding the skillet back and forth over the burner to prevent burning. Stop when the spice exudes a pleasant aroma, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool. Repeat with cumin seeds. Grind in spice grinder and set aside. 2) Pound the salt and chilies in a mortar with a pestle into a paste. One at a time, add the lemongrass, coriander and cumin seeds, turmeric powder, shallots and almonds. Add each item in sequence only after the previous ingredient is pureed and incorporated into the paste. 3) Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the coconut cream mixture. Mix well and set aside. (Stored in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, the marinade will keep overnight in the refrigerator)

4) Marinate the chicken fillets with the paste for 30 minutes. 5) Mound charcoal at one side of the grill, leaving the other half empty. Light the charcoal. 6) While waiting for the grill to heat up, thread 3 to 4 pieces of the chicken onto each skewer. The chicken pieces should be threaded close to each other, covering 5 inches of the skewer.  7) Spray the skewered meat generously with vegetable oil. Lay the skewered meat close to each other on the grill over medium-high heat.  8) Grill, brushing lightly and frequently with the marinade and pineapple juice mixture. Turn the skewers frequently to prevent burning, until the meat is crispy brown on the surface and white and tender on the inside. This takes about 10 minutes. 9) Transfer the grilled satay to a platter and serve immediately together with the peanut sauce and a small portion of diced cucumber and onions.
Directions for Peanut Sauce Preparation: 1) Saute sliced shallots or chopped red onion over a low flame until translucent. Do not brown. 2) Add garlic and saute a little more. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. Stir well then add soya sauce and brown sugar. Let it cook until it reaches boiling point, then add lime juice, peanut butter and cook till frothy. Remove mixture from heat and let it cool.  3) Coarsely blend the mixture into a paste (doesn't have to be smooth) and add the coarsely ground roasted peanut. Mix well. Ready to serve.

Precautions - Peanut butter burns easily. Stir frequently and watch the heat to prevent burning.