The first time ever I tried this dish, I thought it was the best grilled chicken I ever tasted. Marinated chicken breast, in lemongrass, ginger and fragrant spices , grilled and served with the most delicious, spicy peanut sauce. A lot of recipes call for peanut butter in the sauce, which is actually a shortcut. Not that it matters but I prefer the original version of this sauce, which calls for ground peanuts. Spend a little extra time in the kitchen, for a more authentic and tasty dish.
For the marinade
- About 1 kg chicken breast, cut in long strips
- 2 Tbs coriander seeds
- 3 lemongrass stalks, chopped (tender parts only)
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 2 x 5cm pieces fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 Tbs sweet soy sauce or 1 Tbs soy sauce and 1 Tbs dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/3 cup sunflower oil
For the peanut sauce
- 1 cup unsalted peanuts (if you can’t find unsalted, adjust the seasoning by adding less salt)
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 large onion
- 1 red chilli pepper, without the seeds
- 1 Tbs sunflower oil
- 2 Tbs dark brown sugar
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp sweet soy sauce or 2 tsp soy sauce and 2 tsp dark brown sugar
In a medium frying pan, dry fry the coriander seeds and black peppercorns, stirring over medium heat, 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add seeds in a blender together with the remaining ingredients for the marinade (except the chicken of course). Blend until you have a fairly smooth paste.
Mix chicken strips and paste in a bowl or plastic bag. Leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.
Make the peanut sauce. Crush the peanuts in a blender or foodprocessor until finely chopped but still a bit chunky. It’s better if the sauce has a little crunch from the nuts instead of being completely smooth. Put chopped peanuts in a bowl until needed.
In the same blender add the onion, garlic and chilli pepper. Blend until smooth. Heat oil in a frying pan and cook this paste over medium-high heat, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes, until onion is cooked and most juices have evaporated. Add the coconut milk and sugar. Bring to boil and leave to simmer until slightly thickened. Add the peanuts and cook another minute or so. Put sauce in a bowl and mix in the lime juice, sweet soy sauce and fish sauce. At this stage, if the sauce is too thick add some more coconut milk. Leave sauce to cool.
Take chicken strips out of the marinade and thread in an «S» shape on metal skewers. If you plan to use wooden skewers, leave them to soak in water at least one hour, preferably over night, to avoid burning. Grill chicken over medium-high heat, for about 15 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times. Serve with the sauce.