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Thai Chicken Satay and Cucumber Relish

Category: Dinner
Source: Kristen J. Gough

Thai Chicken Satay

Inspired by a dish in Steven Raichlen's The Barbecue Bible.

Prep time: 40 minutes + 1 hour marinating + 10-15 minutes grilling
Servings: 4

Ingredients, basic

3 lb. chicken breasts
1 14-oz. can coconut milk (regular or light)
6-8" Wooden skewers

Ingredients, marinade

4 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 Tbsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. cumin
3 Tbsp. fish sauce (or 1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce + 1 1/2 Tbsp. chicken broth)
4 Tbsp. honey
1 bunch Cilantro, wash and cut the stalks into 1/4" pieces (save the leaves for garnish)
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder (optional, but adds a kick)
Cucumber relish (Optional, see recipe below)


Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Test the flavors with your fingertip; you may want to add a little more honey for sweetness or a little more fish sauce for tartness.

Cut the chicken into thin, 1/4" strips. (You can place fresh chicken in the freezer for 30 minutes or so to make for easier cutting.) Place the chicken strips into a large, heavy Ziploc bag. Place the chicken in the bag in a large bowl.

Add the marinade ingredients to the bag of chicken and marinate for at least one hour, up to 24 hours. Note: Turmeric stains cooking dishes with a yellow color, so the bag helps protect your baking ware. Also, we use cilantro stalks as a substitute for the more traditional lemongrass. Cilantro is easier to find and we like the buzzy flavor.

While the chicken is marinating, fill a large dish with water and submerge the wooden skewers into the water. They should be covered completely. Soak for at least 30 minutes to prevent burning once they're on the grill.

Thread the chicken strips onto the wooden skewers and place on a cookie sheet until all of the skewers are done and you're ready to start grilling. Do not thread the chicken completely over the skewer – you should leave about 11/2 inches at the end so that you have something to grab with tongs to turn and rotate the chicken on the grill.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Put 1/3 cup of coconut milk into a dish and get ready a long-handled basting brush. Place the skewers in the grill and cook on each side for 4 to 5 minutes. (Watch the skewers carefully, because they will cook fast!) Baste the skewers as they cook with coconut milk. The added fat will not only improve the grilling, but it will add great flavor.

Serve over steamed rice, butter lettuce, or eat plain.

Cucumber Relish

Prepare at least an hour before grilling the chicken so that the relish has time to chill.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


2/3 cup water
2/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 scant cup white sugar
1/2 red onion
1 English (seedless) cucumber
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes


In a small saucepan heat the sugar and water over medium-high heat until it just thickens. Add in the vinegar. Allow to cool. Toss in red pepper flakes. Cut the cucumber into thin, quartered pieces. Thinly slice the red onion either into rounds, or quarters, depending on your preference. Add into the thickened sauce. Chill in the refrigerator. Serve alongside the satay.

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