by Ganteng Boy
Satay is a modern form of Indonesian cooking that involves seasoned, skewered and grilled meat. The key differentiator is in the sauce – the secret sauce. A variety of different meats can be grilled: chicken, goat, mutton, beef, fish, pork or tofu. Grilled or barbucued over a wood or charcoal fire, satay is widely enjoyed across all walks of life.
For the recipe today, we will investigate the cooking process behind Chicken Satay (Satay Ayam in Bahasa Indonesia).
- 2 lbs of Chicken Breast (skinless and de-boned)
- 50 Pieces of Wooden Skewers (8 inches in length)
- 1 lb of Roasted Unsalted Ground Peanuts
- 1 Cup of Sweet Soy Sauce (Bango Kecap Manis)
- 1 Can of Chicken Broth
- 2 Shallots
- 3-4 pieces of Thai Chilli Peppers
- 1-2 Small Limes
- 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Disclaimer: each Indonesian family claims to possess a secret sauce for their version of satay. The recipe provided here is a generic Indonesian style Chicken Satay. We do accept requests for private tasting.
Step 1. It is essential that you purchase Roasted Unsalted Ground Peanuts, and not Peanut Butter. The consistency and texture of Peanut Butter is too smooth and too close to butter. If your local grocery store does not sell Ground Peanutes, you can opt to purchase Roasted Unsalted Peanuts instead, and grind them yourself. The ideal diameter of the peanut grounds should be no more than 1-2 mm. Place the grounded peanuts into a small bowl. Pour all of the chicken broth into the small bowl. Fill the chicken broth can halfway with water, and pour this amount into the small bowl. Stir lightly.
Step 2. Set the range to low heat. Stir the mixture above, slowly. Bring the soupy content to a low boil. Allow this content to evenly cook for approximately 1/2 hour. You will start to notice a slight oily consistency – that is perfectly normal. Let the peanut mixture cool down.
Step 3. Cut the chicken into little bite size pieces – no larger than your thumb. Stab each piece of chicken into the wooden skewer. As a rule of thumb, limit each skewer to no more than 4 pieces of chicken.
Step 4. Mix 2 Tablespoons of the Peanut Sauce from Step 2 and add:
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Lime Juice from 1/2 of the Small Lime
1/2 Cup of the Sweet Soy Sauce
This mixture will be your Peanut Sauce Marinade.
Step 5. Marinate the Chicken Satay with the Peanut Sauce Marinade from Step 4. Using a kitchen safe brush, apply the Peanut Sauce Marinade evenly throughout all parts of the Chicken Satay.
Step 6. Now that it is time to fire up the grill, let us observe the ideal grilling equipment. One must travel to Indonesia to obtain said grill – better known as the Panggangan Satay.
There are alternative cooking methods using a stove top, but that is beyond the scope of this post. Load the grill with about 20-30 pieces of charcoal. My parents were adament about using only natural hardwood charcoal lumps.
Apply lighter fluid onto the bed of charcoal, ignite and maintain a steady ember. Traditionally, Indonesians use a fan constructed from the finest bamboo (see GIF below).
Step 7. Place 20-25 Chicken Satay pieces on the grill, with a little bit of spacing in between each Satay piece.
Vigorously sweep the fan like a crazy man to maintain a steady ember.
Turn the Satay pieces as needed, ensuring that the meat is evenly cooked and that it does not blacken. This is the make it or break it point. In my household, you might be judged by how brunt, or lack thereof, your Satay Ayam turns out.
Step 8. Reapply the Peanut Sauce Marinade from Step 4, to prevent the chicken pieces from drying.
To test the chickens’ readiness, taste a piece of chicken after approximately 5 minutes. This might sound crazy, because it is crazy. Salmonella is a real killa, and I do not advise pregnant women, children or immuno-compromised individuals to taste test the chicken – you have been warned. If the chicken piece comes off clean, then it is considered cooked well-done.
Step 9. Take the remaining Peanut Sauce from Step 2 (you should have approximately 1 cup left over), mix it with 1/2 cup of Bango Sweet Soy Sauce, and squeeze 1/2 of small lime. Prior to serving, pour this Peanut Sauce over the Chicken Satay.
From the Budhijanto family to yours – Selamat Makan!