COMPLIMENTARY RECIPE: CHICKEN SATAY SKEWERS WITH SPICY PEANUT SAUCE
In search of what they promise is the best satay, some locals send me down a main road. ‘It’s across from the Pertamina Hospital – just look for Sate Ayam Dankambing, on Jalan Kayai Maja, number 21’, they tell me, making it all sound so easy. It isn’t. I have no idea what I am looking for, only that this satay is completely worth any effort. But after I’ve walked about 20 metres, I see the smoke, smell the aromas and know I’ve found my destination. I spy two long charcoal barbecues with guys madly fanning coals. They grab around 20 beautifully threaded satay sticks at a time, submerge them in a dark, sticky marinade, and then put them straight onto the grill. Coals hiss, flames ignite, smoke puffs and the meat quickly cooks to succulent, charred perfection. The sticks are plated with sticky rice cakes, kecap manis, crispy fried shallots and a gorgeous peanut sauce. Customers eat right outside, among the smoke and fumes, sitting on wooden benches and watching the world pass by. I buy a serve of the dainty skewers; they’re not huge. I get a mix of chicken and mutton, their specialities.
Serves 4 - 6 as part of a shared meal
500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 4 x 5 cm pieces
3 garlic cloves, finely diced
2-3 red asian shallots, thinly sliced
2 red chillies, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon shrimp paste
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons kecap manis
SPICY PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 red asian shallots, diced
4 bird’s eye chillies, sliced
125g smooth peanut butter
250ml light coconut milk
3 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
40g unsalted roasted peanuts, crushed
1 lime, juiced
1. Soak 20 bamboo skewers in cold water for 30 minutes.
2. Heat a wok or saucepan over a medium heat. Add the marinade ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until thickened and reduced. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and leave to cool.
3. Thread 4–5 pieces of the chicken onto each skewer and place on a deep plate.
4. Repeat with the remaining chicken and skewers, then pour the marinade over the threaded chicken part of the skewers only. Cover with plastic wrap, transfer to the refrigerator and leave to marinate for 20 minutes.
5. To make the spicy peanut dipping sauce, heat the peanut oil in a small saucepan over a medium–high heat. Add the garlic, shallot and chilli and sauté for 3 minutes. Now add the peanut butter, coconut milk, kecap manis, worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and salt. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for 10 minutes, whisking every few minutes so that the ingredients combine well. Add the crushed peanuts, lime juice and 100 ml water, return to a simmer and cook for a further 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
6. Heat a chargrill pan or barbecue chargrill to high. Chargrill the chicken skewers for 3 minutes on each side, turning them over and basting them with the reserved marinade every minute.
7. Transfer to a platter and serve with the spicy peanut dipping sauce.