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Chicken Sate and My Peanut Sauce

Chicken Sate

Serve with a good peanut sauce (see below), a nice green salad or just chunks of cucumber and tomatos.  Rice optional, but nice cold Yarrh Riesling is not.

1 kg of boned chicken thighs, skin on if you can find them

2 red chillies, seeds removed

1 small onion, chopped

3 teaspoons of finely chopped ginger

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 teaspoons of salt

2 tablespoons of light soy sauce

2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce

2 tablespoons of sesame oil

2 tablespoons of palm sugar


Cut the chicken into dice.  Blitz the chillies, onion, ginger, lemon juice, salt and soy sauces, then stir in the sesame oil and sugar.  Marinade the chicken for an hour or overnight in the fridge.  Thread 4-5 pieces onto soaked bamboo skewers.

Grill over charcoal (yes, charcoal!) and serve straight off the grill.  Heaven on a stick when served with Yarrh Riesling!

My Favourite Peanut Sauce

Years ago I brought a very unprepossessing “Tastes of Indonesia” cookbook by Jacki Passmore (1992) that has some of the best Indonesian recipes I have ever come across.  The Penguin website tells me that Jacki has travelled extensively across Asia and written over 20 books on Asian cooking.  There’s (literally) thousands of recipes out there for satay sauce, but this one, the very first recipe in the book, reminds me most of the best we’ve tried across Bali, Java and Malaysia.  Thank you, Jacki.

4-6 dried chillies, soaked, drained, seeded

2 cloves of garlic, peeled

6 shallots or scallions, peeled

½ lemon grass stalk, white part only, chopped

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 teaspoon compressed shrimp paste (“trassi”)

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

150g crunchy peanut butter

¾ cup thick coconut milk

Tamarind, sugar and salt to taste


Blitz or pound the chillies, garlic, shallots and lemon grass into a paste, then fry in the oil in a small, heavy based saucepan for 5-6 minutes until very aromatic.

Dry fry the shrimp paste and seeds until aromatic and toasted. Grind these, then add to the other ingredients and cook through for another few minutes.

Add the peanut butter and coconut milk, and some water if needed (it usually does).  I like to now simmer it down gently for a while (15-20mins, add more water if necessary)  – make sure it doesn’t catch.  This brings it together.

Check seasonings and add tamarind, sugar and salt to taste.  Allow to cool.

(Sometimes I also add some deep fried, thinly sliced garlic – adds a nice crunchy element.)


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