My sister served this at a party recently and as I was roped into helping to cook it, I felt it was only polite to ask for the recipe (that, and the fact that it was absolutely yummy). There is something about the unctuous combination of peanut butter and coconut milk, with just a hint of sweet chilli, that makes the dipping sauce incredibly moreish without being too cloying. Not exactly health food, but let’s see 2011 out with a bang and worry about redressing the balance in January…
The ingredients are as follows, and remember that the balance of flavours, for both the marinade and the sauce, can be easily varied according to your taste. The amounts below serve two, but again, it is straightforward to multiply the quantities. Also, you could use crunchy peanut butter, but I don’t see that it would really add anything, to the marinade at least. If you have any suggestions or improvements, let me know. And don’t forget to soak your bamboo skewers for at least 30 minutes before using them or they will burn.
2 chicken breasts, skin removed
for the marinade:
small piece of root ginger, grated (or be really lazy and use about 0.5 teaspoon of ginger purée)
1 clove garlic, crushed
juice of 1 lime (reserve 1 teaspoon for use in the dipping sauce)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon runny honey
1 teaspoon smooth peanut butter
for the dipping sauce:
170g peanut butter
75ml coconut milk
1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce (I’ve tried a few mainstream brands and my favourite is Blue Dragon; I wouldn’t recommend using Sharwoods)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Put all the marinade ingredients in a small bowl or jug and whisk together until the peanut butter breaks down.
Put the chicken breasts between two pieces of clingfilm and use a meat mallet or rolling pin to bash the meat into thin escalopes, around 0.5cm thick. Slice into strips or cubes depending on your preference and toss in the marinade. Leave for at least 30 minutes.
To make the sauce, put the peanut butter, coconut milk, water, sweet chilli and soy sauce in a small saucepan. Warm gently, stirring constantly, until everything has melted together. Bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat, stir in the reserved teaspoon of lime juice and set aside.
Preheat a griddle pan until it is hot hot hot. In the meantime, thread the chicken pieces onto skewers. Cook them for around 5 minutes on each side, or until the meat is cooked through. (Alternatively, you could lay the skewers on a foil-lined baking sheet and grill them if you prefer.)
Depending on how long it takes you to cook all your chicken, reheat the sauce, adding an extra tablespoon of water if it has become too thick. Drizzle a little of the sauce over the cooked skewers and serve the rest in a bowl for dipping – safest to have one per person to avoid any quarrels…you have been warned. Very nice when accompanied by some warmed pitta or naan bread, or you could serve it with rice and vegies for a more substantial meal.
Top tip: if you put the cooked skewers in a covered dish to rest for 5 minutes, the chicken will be nice and juicy. This is also handy for keeping them warm if you have quite a few to make.