Camille's Real Food Recipe: Chicken Satay
Chicken Satay: Easy Grilling, Spectacular Results
Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t have a starched apron and a Betty-Crocker-esque test kitchen in which I regularly churn out new recipes. What I do instead is to mine the infinite resources of the internet and the myriad of cookbooks I own when I need inspiration. I have many favorites. At the top of the list is Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express (available here). This cookbook is not overwhelmingly large, is divided into seasons of the year, and contains simple recipes that almost always taste worthy of a four-star restaurant. Mark cooks like I do: he tosses in a bit of this and a dash of that. His recipes read like a paragraph. For example, the Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce on page 187 begins this way:
“Pound chicken breasts to half-inch thickness and slice them into four inch pieces. In a bowl, combine the juice from one lime with a smashed clove of garlic; add the chicken and let it marinate for five minutes.”
“Boneless and skinless” breasts are assumed. It doesn’t say how many. Possible answers include: 1 package; 1 chicken breast for each person at the table; as many as your grill will hold . . . ) And pounding? Really? Well, those 3 to 5 minutes you spend with a mallet pay off in a big way: Flattening the chicken reduces the cooking time by 2/3 or more. Simply fold the chicken between waxed paper and whack at the thick part a few times until it is the same height as the thinner part (about a half an inch).
I’ve recommended Mark’s book to a number of people. It usually goes over well; there was an exception: One of my clients was not comfortable enough with cooking to go without the usual ingredient list with exact measurements. So we found her another book.
The recipe continues:
“Meanwhile, whisk together a half a cup of peanut butter, a couple of tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice, a splash of soy sauce, a pinch or two of red chile flakes, a teaspoon of brown sugar, and enough chicken broth or water to make a smooth sauce; adjust the seasoning.”
As a Health Coach, I am always looking for ways to amp up the health quotient on my cooking. Let me give you an example: I think the chicken should be pasture-raised (best), organic (second best), or at the very least from a source that uses responsible and humane farming practices. Look for organic peanut butter and lime, and the soy sauce should be organic and wheat-free. You could substitute honey for the brown sugar, although a teaspoon of sugar isn’t going to cause the health devastation that, say, a cup would cause.
And what the heck does he mean by “adjust the seasoning?” Take a taste of the sauce. See if you like it. Add a bit more soy sauce or lime. Or not. (I added about a tablespoon of soy sauce to mine and a little extra lime. Yum!)
Chicken Satay is a dish that is universally loved. Kids love that peanut butter is in the main dish, and adults love the surprisingly sophisticated flavor of the the blend of peanut butter and other ingredients. So I’m sure you want to know the rest of the recipe:
“Set aside most of the sauce for dipping and smear the rest on the chicken pieces with a little salt and pepper; thread onto skewers and grill for two minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve with the reserved peanut sauce and lime wedges.”
That’s it! Find yourself a great cookbook and be fearless in your experimentation. Because one of the healthiest things you can do is to learn to love to cook. Enjoy!
Remember that having a coach can make all the difference between success and failure in reaching your health goals. I currently have openings for new private clients, and I will be beginning a group coaching program at AlmaDiem in the near future. Contact me for your free health strategy session and learn how to take back your health. -Camille Watson, Holistic Health Coach and Owner of Essential Kitchen