Satay Ayam (Chicken Satay)

Infused with traditional Indonesian spices—lemongrass, garlic, ginger—these fragrant chicken skewers are adapted from a recipe that appeared in SAVEUR No. 138 (May 2011). Most recently, this recipe ran in our Jan/Feb 2014 SAVEUR 100 issue with the article 20 Years of SAVEUR: The World of Satay.

Satay Ayam (Chicken Satay) Satay Ayam (Chicken Satay)
These Malaysian chicken kebabs are marinated in a spice market's worth of seasonings, from ginger to fennel to coriander.
Yield: makes 30 Skewers

Ingredients

  • 13 cup peanut oil
  • 14 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 2 12 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 12 tsp. ground fennel
  • 1 12 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and chopped, plus 1 stalk, whole
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 (5″) piece ginger, sliced
  • 3 12 lb. skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″-wide, ¼”-thick slices
  • 30 (8″) bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

Instructions

  1. Purée 2 tbsp. oil, the sugar, coriander, turmeric, fennel, salt, chopped lemongrass, garlic, shallots, and ginger in a food processor until smooth. Transfer paste to a bowl and add chicken; toss to combine. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 4 hours. Trim the root end of the stalk of lemongrass and using a meat mallet, smash until it splits into threads resembling a brush; place “brush” end in a bowl and pour in remaining oil.
  2. Heat a charcoal grill or set a gas grill to medium-high. (Alternatively, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.) Thread 2 pieces of chicken onto each skewer; grill, turning once, and brushing often with oil using lemongrass brush, until charred, 5-6 minutes.