Thai Chicken Satay and Cucumber Relish

Slightly sweet with a kick of spice and savory flavors – that’s what comes to mind when I think of putting together a Thai dish. We came up with this satay recipe after visiting a local favorite restaurant, The Thai Bistro. While I enjoyed the coconut soup – and the entree, drunken noodles – my favorite part of the meal was the appetizer: satay. These strips of turmeric-laced chicken skewers are more often given to start out the meal, but around our house, Thai chicken satay makes the meal.

Skewers take some work to put together – you have to cut the chicken into thin strips, marinate it, thread it onto sticks (and soak the sticks so they don’t burn), and then grill. Lacing 20 or so strips of chicken onto sticks can be tedious and a bit time-consuming, but the efforts are worth it. My kids love the tangy flavor of satay – and, of course, having a chance to eat off a stick. And the leftovers are tasty (that’s if you have any!). Yes, I have eaten them cold for breakfast.

Still aren’t convinced that chicken skewers are worth a few pokes when you’re putting them on the stick – and yellow fingers from the turmeric? What I like about satay is that the flavors are unique and fresh. Our friends put on an Iron Chef competition at their house (yes, it was modeled after the popular Food Network show). Each couple brought a dish using the "secret ingredient." They told us the ingredient about a week before the get-together – limes.

We brought these skewers, decorating a large serving dish with most of the skewers lying down and some poked into a half-cut orange (the oranges’ cut side are down on the platter, and then the sticks are pushed into the round part; make sure to balance these carefully). Sure enough, the flavor-drenched chicken skewers won overall – and there was some steep competition: lime cheesecake, lime rice, pork roast in a lime marinade and more. Our prize? Bragging rights and a $10 gift certificate to Carvel’s.

Is your mouth watering yet? Time to make some satay.

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