I taught at a school in Koh Samui (an island in Thailand) for two years. Living in a tropical paradise was amazing, and every night we would go out to eat dinner by the sea. A popular starter was always chicken satay – grilled chicken on bamboo skewers smothered in a thick, peanut sauce. However, chicken satay actually originates from Indonesia, which just so happens to be where I met my wife!
Ingredients (serves 2 – easily doubled)
For the chicken
250g chicken breast
1 tablespoon of curry powder
2 tablespoons of coconut milk
Wooden kebab skewers
For the sauce
30g peanut butter (I like to use crunchy, but smooth also works)
15ml soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
½ a teaspoon of chilli flakes
For the pickled cucumber
½ a cucumber
1 spring onion
30ml rice vinegar (or any other vinegar)
1 teaspoon of sugar
120g basmati rice
Soak the kebab skewers in water. This helps prevent burning when cooking.
Chop the chicken into 8-10 long, thin strips.
Place the chopped chicken into a bowl and add the curry powder, 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and a pinch of salt. Give everything a good mix and leave to rest.
Put all of the sauce ingredients into a pan and place over a low heat. Stir it every now and again. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until it is a slightly thick, custard-like mixture.
Cut the cucumber in half lengthways. Scrape out the seeds with a teaspoon and discard. Slice the cucumber and spring onion finely. Add to a small bowl with the rice vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt. Leave to pickle.
Add the rice to a saucepan with 240ml of cold water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting and put a lid on the pan. Turn the heat off after 10 minutes and leave alone until you are ready to serve the meal – this will get you perfect rice!
Thread one chicken strip onto each bamboo skewer. If the skewer is very long, snap off the excess wood.
Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat with a drizzle of oil. Once hot, add the chicken skewers and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side. They should slightly charred on the edges.
Serve the chicken skewers over the rice with the pickled cucumber to the side. Smother the chicken in the peanut sauce and devour.