Nuts! (Chef Scotty B)

This time around we thought we’d do something slightly nutty. “Finally” I thought to myself, an excuse to do something Asian for this blog. Satay! This recipe is an adaption of one the first exotic recipes from the far east that I ever learned.

Visions of the East
Visions of the East

This recipe was taught to me by one of my earliest food mentors, drinking buddy and all around G.C. Lyal Sherman. Lyal took over as sous chef at my first ever restaurant about a year into my cooking career. By this stage I had a basic understanding of the in and outs of the kitchen. I had my “YES CHEF, NO CHEF, THREE BAGS FULL CHEF!” down pat, and could take a beating during service with a twisted smile that only lunatics and hospitality workers could possibly comprehend. This, as far as I can tell is why this guy took a liking to me, either that or he just simply enjoyed drinking as much as I did.

Like most chefs of his generation Lyal was brought up in the school of hard knocks. He was old-school; that is he was worked hard, drank hard, and during heat of battle (service) he absolutely took no prisoners. One of my fondest memories of working with this man was the day one of our junior chefs, incidentally the first person in my entire life that I had been in charge of, hit Chef Lyal for about the 3rd time that day with the butt end of a pizza shovel whilst retrieving golden goodies form our wood fired pizza oven. We all knew what was going to happen, this had been an on-going issue between these guys for a few weeks now. I saw the veins pulsating in this already (at times) terrifying mans forehead, as Lyal snatched the 5 foot long, stainless steel shovel out of his victims disbelieving hands and turned it on him. Like crazed medieval warlord swinging a cheese soaked battle axe, Lyal exacted his justice on his stunned foe. With an all resounding “SMACK”, this bustling restaurant in the full swing of a busy lunch service stopped just for a moment, and I had to make a break for the dish pit to have a complete melt down laughing fit. Needless to say, that particular junior chef never hit anyone else with that accursed shovel ever again.

Satay vendors on the streets of KL turn sticks
Satay vendors on the streets of KL turn sticks

Chicken Marinade

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 2hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients
  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 100g light soy sauce
  • 25g Shao Xing
  • 20g sesame oil
  • 10g sugar
  • 50g water
  • 10-15 8 inch bamboo skewers
Method

First of all soak your bamboo skewers in cold water so that they don’t just burn when you chuck them on the BBQ. Next slice your chicken breast about 5mm thick across the breast (slicing across the muscle fibres makes the meat more tender once cooked). Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl until well combined and add the chicken slices. Marinate for at least two hours before cooking. Once the meat is well marinated skewer the strips of meat through the edges so that the meat is stretched along the length of the skewer and lies flat.

Chicken skewers all prepped and ready
Chicken skewers all prepped and ready

Satay Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: med
  • Print

Ingredients
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp chopped galangal
  • 1 long red chilli
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tblsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 4 green cardamon pods
  • 1 tsp ground tumeric
  • 2 Tblsp palm sugar
  • 2 Tblsp malt vinegar
  • 400 ml coconut cream
  • 4 Tblsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 Tblsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander
Method

Combine the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and cardamon pods in a fry pan and toast until fragrant. Combine with the tumeric, garam masala in a mortar and pestle and grind into a fine powder. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium sized pot, and once it is hot, sweat out your shallots until they are translucent. Add your garlic, ginger, galangal, and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add your spice mix and cook out for another minute stirring constantly. Dump in your coconut cream and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and add all the other ingredients except for the fresh coriander. And cook for around 10 minutes on a low heat, stirring frequently, careful that you do not split the sauce as the oil in the peanut butter can cause it to seperate, if you notice this begin to happen remove from the heat and stir vigorously to recombine and allow to cool. Once the sauce is thick and rich add the chopped fresh coriander and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

Firing the chicken
Firing the chicken
Satay sticks on the grill
Satay sticks on the grill

To finish:

Fire up your oven grill, or BBQ. Half cook the chicken skewers over a moderate heat. Once the meat begins to firm up, baste the skewers with liberal lashings of satay sauce and turn, and repeat until you have a thick sticky glaze of peanut buttery goodness, and the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with crushed roasted peanuts and crispy shallots.

Being that we own a charcoal BBQ, it seemed a shame to go to all the effort of lighting her up just for a few measly skewers. So we did what any decent fire/meat enthusiasts would do and invited a bunch of fellow enthusiasts over for a good old sunday night session. We cooked a pork leg slowly, (just away from the coals and over a pan of water to retain the moisture in the meat) for about two hours and then finished the crackling over the hottest part of the fire, watching over it like a doting parent. We naturally used the extra sauce to lather up slices of swine and dipped the crispy skin into the luxurious sauce. This heavenly combination along with a few beers, followed by a few whiskies, made for one hell of a sunday night; while monday morning was just plain hell…… Enjoy.

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