Daring Cooks January: Satay

It's a new year, both calender-wise and for us deer eaters: we just celebrated one year of food blogging! The highlight of this blogging year has definitely been the Daring Kitchen challenges. In the past twelve months, we have mastered the art of sushi making (ok, "mastered the art" might be a slight exaggeration if you ask a true Japanese sushi chef, but we're proud of ourselves, so there!); realized that if you find a macaron recipe that works for you, you should stick with it; we have turned disappointments around, ventured into vegan territory, put the pasta machine to use in two challenges, and even done molecular gastronomy à la Grant Achatz and Alinea.
In short: we have learned a lot, we have been challenged, and we have had loads of fun as members of this awesome community of food bloggers from all corners of the planet.

Enough with the retrospective, onwards to this month's challenge:
The January 2010 DC challenge was hosted by Cuppy of Cuppylicious and she chose a delicious Thai-inspired recipe for Pork Satay from the book 1000 Recipes by Martha Day.

Yay, we love satay! We have made it a couple of times at home but never really found a perfect recipe for the peanut sauce. This challenge was very easy (although you could make it more involved by for example making additional sauces or doing more types of satay using pork, chicken, veggies, tofu etc.). As we did this the very last minute (sounds familiar....?) and were both tired and hungry, we were happy that it was uncomplicated and didn't take much time. I made the marinade in the morning (chucked everything into the food processor - whiiiiiirl, and done!), stuck the chicken in the fridge during the day, and in the evening we had dinner on the table in about 40 minutes, the rice taking the longest to make.

This marinade is a real find, it made the chicken super-tender and super-tasty. It will definitely be put to use during the BBQ season (which feels far far away now - we have lots of snow and temperatures of about 10-15 below Celsius (5-14°F) - shudder!). The peanut sauce was good, but still not the satay sauce we're looking for. I guess the quest continues... It was really easy to make, and quite close to the satay sauce we've had in Malaysia and Indonesia, but there's something missing from all the recipes we have tried. Any ideas?

Thank you Cuppy for a nice challenge! I wouldn't call it challenging, but it was tasty, easy and we will definitely make it again. For the full recipe, go to Cuppy's blog or to the Daring Kitchen recipe archive.

Chicken satay

1/2 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ginger root, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tbsp vegetable oil (or peanut or olive oil)
1 tbsp fish sauce (optional, but gives a more authentic Thai flavor)
3 chicken breasts

You could cut the chicken breasts into narrow strips, for skewering and grilling/broiling. We just kept them whole.
Anyhoo, either do the marinade by hand (chop the vegetables really fine) or do the cheater version: dump everything into the food processor and mix until smooth. Place the chicken breasts in a plastic bag, pour in the marinade, mush it around a little, seal well and place in the fridge for 2-12 hours.
Get the chicken out of the marinade. Broil or grill at 290°C/550°F (or pan fry on medium-high) for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just start to char. Flip and cook another 8-10 minutes. We pan fried our chicken, and I didn't bother to wipe of any excess marinade, I just put the chicken into the pan. The marinade did get quite a bit of color quickly, but it wasn't a problem, we just lowered the heat and put a bit of foil over the pan to keep the heat in.

Peanut sauce

3/4 cup coconut milk (180 ml)
4 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1-2 dried red chilies, chopped

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add soy sauce and lemon, mix well.
Over low heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter and your soy-lemon-seasoning mix. Mix well, stir often.
All you’re doing is melting the peanut butter, so make your peanut sauce after you’ve made everything else in your meal, or make ahead of time and reheat.

Serve the satay as an appetizer, side dish or main course. Enjoy!


  1. Your enthusiasm is truly contagious. Here is to you and another year of learning our craft.

  2. Wonderful that you love the DK so much like I do. And your satay is super-looking.

    About the missing ingredient have you tried sesame oil (a small amount) it really adds a punch to the taste.

    Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  3. Congrats on achieving the 1 year mark on your blog and what a great way to celebrate by cooking up some satay :) You definitely make me want to do chicken next time around with your description!

  4. Happy Anniversary! :D

    I'm glad that the challenge worked out for you - a nice relaxation after the holidays and busy year. ;) If you find that perfect peanut sauce, please do share it with the rest of us!

  5. you're right about that marinade it is perfect for BBQ season, I've used it a couple of times already (seeing as its around 30C here at the moment) and it is just great! Enjoy finding "the" perfect sauce!

  6. After years of faithfully following very authentic recipes, and experimenting with flavors; I've come to that conclusion that, that 'something' missing is the country itself, I think all the spices in the air and soil, must give the dishes a special flavor.

    Congratulations on the challange

  7. Happy Anniversary!

    Your satays look terrific. When BBQ season finally comes back (it seems so far away, doesn't it?), I can't wait to make these again and try lots of different variations.

  8. Happy Anniversary! Gorgeous satay...

  9. Good job on the challenge and happy blogiversary!

  10. Happy Anniversary! I enjoyed reading your blog. I think the kind/brand of ingredients you use has something to do w/ flavor. To give an example for this recipe, to be specific the soy sauce. There are different kinds of soy sauce. Japanese soy sauce taste mild compared to the soy sauce from China, Philippines or Thai. Same w/ the fish sauce, they taste different as well. That's why i have 2 kinds of fish sauce and soy sauce.

  11. Love the fun spirit in your writing, and your satays looked wonderful!